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Kai T« re wmkuk mumk 3MAtf«iy, <e«l v«pl tup 

MH^rt ytynnifMPM' 




VOL. I. 






(ZS« HgkU of (nuMlofiMt ami iif T^pndmctUm art mmud.) 


G-EBHAivT, her institutions and culture^ are daily attract- 
ing more attention in England, France, and Bussia. In 
military matters the two latter are content to copy her, 
with alterations of their own which are not improvements. 
There is much in the institutions which surprises, some- 
thing in the culture which shocks, a foreigner. It is 
impossible for him to understand the former, unjust to 
judge the latter, without a knowledge of the history of 
German civilisation. 

With nations, as with individuals, the features of 
maturity are the features stamped in childhood, but 
modified by circumstance. The factors of German 
national life are powers which must be reduced to their 
roots to be understood. Besults without a hint of their 
causes are as unsatis£Etctory in social science as are 
miracles in the economy of nature. A traveller notes 
&ct8 that appear strange to him. This is not a book of 
travels, and therefore I do not content myself with 
recording observations — I attempt to explain the cause of 


mstenoe of those features which have attracted my 
rvation. GermaD culture has been treated in the 
) way ae G«nuaii institutioDB. The culture of a 
m is not to be measured by that of another nation, but 
tie standards attained at different epochs in its own 
iry. The adolescence of one nation has been &voured, 
of another has not. One goes to school every day, 
acquires every accomplishment without a break in 
xintinuity of its schooliog ; anoUier has to learn its 
OS by snatches. This has not been borne in mind 
irtain recant American and English writers on 0er- 
social life. They have noted defects and foi^otten 
iausee, or have not paused to inquire into them. For 
centuries G«nnany has been a battlefield, and ood- 
warfare roughens manners, checks education, and 
las art. In estimating Oenoan culture we should 
,er, ti^t that there is not mor^ but that there is so 
after the Thirty Years' war, the war of the 
ish Succession, the Seven Years' war, and the wars 
ipoleon. Culture, again, is not of manner only^ but 
of mind. If Q-ermans fall short of the EngUab 
ard in one particular, they shoot far ahead of it 
B other. 

he English traveller carries abroad with him some- 
' of the Pharisee. He thanks Qod that he is not as 
foreigners : be does not put his knife int« his mouth, 
ilk noisily, and he always answers letters./ But it is 
r that he does not occasionally take the place of the 
can, and beat on his breast and say : * God be 

Preface. vii 

merciful to me a sinner, in that I have neglected to 
secure sound education for the middle classes ; and to me a 
fool, for having squandered, and for squandering still, so 
much money on my army to so little military purpose.' 

I have not concealed my view of the deficiencies in 
German culture, but I have pointed out the causes and 
suggested remedies. Most intelligent Germans are like 
Cromwell — they desire to be painted with their warts, if 
they must be painted at alL 

Some of the subjects dealt with in these volumes are 
of such importance that one class of readers may complain 
that I have treated them too cursorily* My purpose has 
not been to deal comprehensively with each — ^to say all 
that might, or indeed ought, to have been said on each — 
but to squeeze into single chapters just sufficient informa- 
tion as will give the reader a general outline and idea of 
the subject, and for the sake of specialists I have added an 
appendix of authors who will enable them to master the 
details of the matter they desire to study. Though each 
subject has been treated lightly, I trust it has not been 
dealt with superficially. That there are imperfections in 
the work no one is more conscious than myself Each 
subject touched is so full of interest, and has so many 
ramifications, that my difficulty has been rather what to 
leave unsaid than what to say ; and here the judgment 
may not be always just. 

\0L. I. 























There are but two families in the world, as my grandmother used 
to saj: the Haves and the Havenots, and she always stuck to the 
former. — Don Quiwote' 

^ Herb Baron I Thank you,' said a waiter to a traveller, 
on receiving payment of the bill. 

' I am not a Baron, mein Ueber ! ' remarked the 

'Oh, Sir! we call every one Baron who tips with a 
ha'penny,' answered the Kellner, contemptuously pocket- 
ing the five-pfennig piece. 

An Englishman is somewhat impatient to find barons 
abroad as thick as blackberries, and looking equally 
i^gg^d. He is not a little amazed to find he has offended 
his tailor by not addressing him as * Well-born,' and 
startled to hear that a daughter of one of our oldest and 
noblest families is not deemed well-bom enough to mate 
with a lack-land German prince, whose ancestors a hun- 
dred and fifty years ago were gentlemen about court, and 
nothing more. A tradesman is 'well-bom,' but the 

^ f VOL. I. B 


Germany, Present and Pa^t. 

daughter of an Anglo-Norman house, who mames the 
sixth son of Prince Potztausend, is doomed to bear her 
maiden name, and know that out of England the union 
is regarded as morganatic, and her children as illegiti- 

Germans, like Frenchmen, are quite incapable of 
understanding English aristocratic distinctions. I have 
known a lady refuse to allow her daughter to dance with 
sons of some of our first county families, and heirs to 
baronetcies, because they bore no * von ' before their sur- 
names, and therefore could be no gentlemen. In a drama 
of one of the best German playwrights, laid in England, 
an * esquir ' {sic) is addressed as * milord,' an earl's wife is 
entitled * Lady Harriot,' and the eldest son of a peer is 
Sir Jones, Baronet. Englishmen too often speak with con- 
tempt of the German nobility, because titles are common 
and the majority of the bearers of them have no estates. 
As a fact the majority of nobles without estates have 
flowing in their veins the bluest blood in Germany, where- 
as some of the princes, who can only mate with royalty, 
are mere parvenua. The stratification of the German 
classes, and of the aristocracy, is most peculiar, and quite 
unlike what we meet with in England. It is absolutely 
inexplicable without an historic sketch of its growth and 

When the mist clears oflF early German history, we 
find the inhabitants of the land divided into two strongly 
marked classes, the Free and the Not-Free. 

The not-free class constituted most certainly a con- 
quered people, distinct in blood from the Germans who 
subjugated them. The conquered race remained bound 
to the soil, and were denied the right of bearing arms, 
and pleading in a court. They were like the Rayas in 
Turkey. They were neither * wehrfahig ' nor ' rechtsfahig.' 


The Upper Nobility, 

The serf tilled the soil, the freeman held jurisdiction 
over it, and fought in its defence. Between the classes 
hovered a swarm of Lazzi or Freilazzi (i.e. Frei-gelassene), 
men emancipated from serfdom, that they might become 
*• wehrfahig,' capable of wielding a sword, and fight for 
their lords. But it took three descents to convert a Lazzus 
into a Freeman. 

One sharp law kept the classes apart as castes — ^this 
was the law of ^ Ebenbiirtigkeit,' which forbade a freeman 
marrying below his class. If he did so, both he and his 
children ceased to be free, and were numbered among 
serfs. The freewoman who married a serf became herself 
a serf. This gave occasion to a common speculation in the 
early Middle Ages, which had to be checked by law. 
Nobles sent their serfs out into the world to pretend to be 
freemen, and so to pick up free wives. Then the lord 
asserted his prerogative, and the deluded wife found her- 
self suddenly degraded. Among the Saxons the serf who 
acted thus was punished with death. The object of the 
law of * Ebenbiirtigkeit ' was to keep Teutonic blood pure 
from various and villein strains. 

Salic law, and the law of the Bipuarian Franks, knew 
nothing of a nobility. Only two birth ranks were recog- 
nised — the free and the not-free. Nobility and freedom 
were equivalent ideas. All free-bom were * ebenbiirtig.' 

But though in the Frank empire there was no privi- 
leged class among freemen, there were personal privileges 
enjoyed by a favoured few. These were the men who 
stood in close relation to the king, and acted as his officers 
in the administration of justice. These officers were 
noble, in so fer that they were raised above their fellow- 
fi^eemen, but this ministerial nobility lacked the essential 
element of aristocracy — it was personal, not hereditary. 
These officers, whether temporal or spiritual, held their 

B 2 

Getynanyy Present and Past. 

nobility for life only. Such were the bishops, chief abbots, 
dukes and counts, the royal butler, sewer, forester, and 
marshaL The great balk of freemen lived on their 
estates, and let them out to free or servile farmers. As 
enjoying freeholds, they were entitled Freiherren — free 
lord»— or Barons. Baro is an old German word meaning 
a Vkanj that is a man of substance, exercising all the 
rights of a freeman. The holder of an allodial estate 
was an adeliger, a gentleman. If he lost his estate he 
ceased to be an adeliger, but not to be a freeman. But I 
am not now going to speak of the landed gentry who con- 
stituted the lower nobility, but of the royal officers who 
have formed themselves into a superior caste. 

The Empire under Charlemagne was this. The whole 
country was parcelled into shires. A shire {gau) usually 
took its name from the river that flowed through it, or 
from the conspicuous object in it; as a frontier it was called 
a frw/rk^ Over every * gau ' and * mark ' was a count — *graf.' 
Over the royal stable was a StaUgraff (constable or mar- 
shal). Over the crown land, a steward called Pfalzgraf 
or Coimt Palatine, held rule. The Grenzgrafen or Mark- 
grafen (margraves) kept the frontiers against Sclavonic 
barbarians. The Burgraves held the royal castles ; Wood- 
graves, Saltgraves, Dykegraves, Millgraves, and Hansgraves 
saw after imperial rights in later times in forests and 
salt mines ; looked to the condition of the mills, canals, 
and the trade of the Hanseatic towns. There was even a 
Spieigraf, with jurisdiction over the tumblers, jugglers, 
minstrels and clowns of the royal household. 

A Graf was a minister of the king, and on his death 
his office and title were given by the crown to another 
favourite. The title is derived from gerefa^ judex, exactor 
fiscalis ; and it retains in England some of its old signifi- 
cance as applied to the sheriff of thecounty (scire^erefa) and 

The Upper Nobility. 

the portreve (port-gerefa). Among the ancient Germans 
a duke — ^ Herzog ' — was the general in command in time 
of war, and with the cessation of war his office and title 
expired. Dukes, however, soon retained their titles, and 
remained as permanent centres round whom the country 
could be mobilised. When, as with the Alamanni and 
the Bavarians, they ruled over distinct races, the rank of 
duke became hereditary in a family, and with the break- 
up of the empire the dukes became independent. It was 
by crushing the dukes that the Carlovingian monarchy was 
founded. Under Charles the Great there were none ; but 
with the fall of the Empire they reappeared, the holders 
of several counties and possessors of large estates. Conrad I. 
endeavomred to reduce them. Henry I. issued from their 
midst, and thenceforth their position was recognised. 
There were dukes in Saxony, Franconia, Bavaria, Austria, 
Swabia, and Lorraine. The kings used their utmost 
endeavours to bring the duchies into their own families. 
Thus the duchies of Swabia and of the Alamanni, Elsass 
and Franconia fell to Austria through the extinction of 
the Hohenstaufen. That of Lorraine was weakened by 
division. The Bavarian alone maintained its independence 
and integrity till the thirteenth century, when it also fell 
a prey to division. At the same time the Sclavonic 
princes assumed the title, fresh duchies were created, and 
the ducal office became titular, nothing more. 

But to retmm to the Counts. The office of count was, 
as already said, given for life only. But as, on the death 
of a count, the transfer ,^ the office to another family 
caused jealousy and discontent, sit was soon found advisable 
to make these offices hereditary. With the office went 
very generally crown lands given in feof. These were 
also continued now in a family, and became hereditary 
like the office, by tail male. Even in the last days of 

Germany, Present and Past. 

rank monarchy there was do hereditary nobility in 
iny, other than that of the Freiherren ; but the 
of a court ariatocracy was laid, which from gener- 

generation received &om the crown great benefices, 
>propFiated the most lucrative offices in the realm. 
Beamten ' ariatocracy was, no doubt, in part recmited 
;be landed gentry, the Free-lords seated on their 

1 estates, but fer more from the flunkies of court 
, emancipated serfs, and all the rabble who han^ 
a court. 

soon as these benefices and offices became heredi- 
he division between the nobility and the gentry waa 
ited. Every crown officer had originally represented 
rereign in his ' gau or ' mark,' and acted for the king 
ce of justice in it, responsible to none save the king. 
he became ' immediate ' {wmrdtt^ar). All other 
m, however large their estates, were ' mediate ' {mii- 
f, subject to the jurisdiction of the crown, acting 
h the count. It was natural that the families of 
mperial officers should hold their heads high above 
linary landed gentry, over whom they, in the name 

king, exercised authority. ' Beamten ' insolence 
sen the bane of G-ermany in all ages, ^^ben the 

became hereditary, the dignity which was at one 
lersonal passed imperceptibly to the family, and thus 
the conception of a noble race towering above the 
: Freiherren living on their estates and with pedi- 
>urer and more ancient than those of these minions, 
Here of fortune, who lorded it over them and dis- 
to associate with them in marriage. But in the 

the law, for a long while, there were still but two 
— freemen and serfs. The nobles were the first 
mong their equals, prvmi iider paTee, nothing more, 
ichseD-Spiegel, drawn up about 1215, classes all to- 

The Upper Nobility. 

gether : ^ princes, barons, and ordinary freemen are alike 
in fine and wehrgeld/ And though, in documents of the 
twelfth century, the same person is termed indiscriminately 
j9Wnog98, nobilisj and liber, the great feudal vassals of the 
crown persisted in distinguishing themselves as princes, and 
in cutting themselves off from the true landed nobility on 
the solL 

The Schwaben-Spiegel, drawn up a century later 
than the Sachsen-Spiegel, shows us how successful they 
had been. In it the freemen are divided into three dis- 
tinct classes, the Semper freien — the great vassals holding 
' immediately ' from the crown ; the Mittel freien — the 
gentry living on their freeholds, or serving in the courts of 
the great vassals ; and the Landsassen, the yeomen, farming 
their own small properties, or renting those of landlords. 

But the surest token of a cleavage of ranks is found in 
the lack of * Ebenbiirtigkeit.' Now, whereas the Sach sen- 
Spiegel makes all freemen, from the yoeman to the duke, 
ebenbiirtig — able, that is, to contract marriages with each 
other's families, without loss of rank — the Schwaben- 
Spiegel makes an union between a Semper frei and a 
Mittel frei so great a mesalliance, that it disqualifies the 
children from inheriting their father's rank and dignities. 
Step by step an hereditary nobility had established itself 
among the officers of the crown, enjoying special immuni- 
ties and sovereign dignities. It was no longer a class of 
freemen devoting itself to serve the crown, but a close 
corporation of princes (Fiirsten), whose members, whether 
high up or low down, could intermarry, but who could 
not unite with those who were ' mediate.' The title of 
Prince (Princeps, Fiirst) had, till the close of the twelfth 
century, no technical signification, but was applied to 
rulers generally, that is, to all who bore authority. It 
was only at the end of the twelfth century that the Im- 

8 Germany, Present and Past, 

perial Chancery gave it a special signification, and made 
it applicable only to those exercising direct control over 
their lordships — to Dukes, Margraves, Counts Palatine, 
and such counts as remained invested with ^ immunitas,' 
as those of Tyrol and Henneberg, and to bishops, abbots 
and abbesses, who also enjoyed this prerogative, as the 
Provost of Berchtesgaden, and the Abbess of Ganders- 

When the duchies of Swabia, I<Vanconia, and Elsass fell 
into abeyance through the extinction of the Hohenstaufen, 
the small barons, or lords of manors, were left pretty much 
their own masters, and they took advantage of the occasion 
to assert, and, where possible, to establish their sove- 
reignty over their petty estates. The^Emperors experienced 
80 much opposition from their great vassals, that they 
favoured these small landliolders, who always held by the 
Imperial crown in its contests with the Electors. At the 
close of the fourteenth century there were organised con- 
federacies of the knightly lords of manors in Swabia, 
Franconia, and on the Ehine, and in 1422 the Emperor 
Sigismund took them under his protection and confirmed 
them in their immunity. They also were * immediate.' 
But the princes would not allow them to be ' ebenbiirtig ' 
with themselves, for the Free-imperial-knights were sove- 
reign on their ovra estates ; whereas the princes were so on 
estates held in feof from the Emperor, and exercised 
their jurisdiction over other families who were 'mittelbar.' 
The real reason was, however, that there were too many 
of them. 

The Free Knights of the Ehine formed themselves in 
1527 into the cantons of the Upper, Middle, and Lower 
fihine. Following this example, in 1543, the Swabian 
knights organised themselves into five cantons. 

In England the Crown was sufficiently strong to 

The Upper Nobility. 

prevent the great Tassals from breaking loose from the 
constitution* In France, the duchies of Normandy, 
Brittany, Guienne, and Burgundy, the counties of Tou- 
louse, Champagne, Flanders, &c., established their inde- 
pendence under the last feeble Carlovingians. But the 
Crown of France had the good fortune to be able to gather 
them in, one after another, under its sovereignty, so that 
only a few — as Bouillon, Doubes, Orange, Avignon, and 
Venaissin — were able to maintain themselves to a late 
period in partial independence. Finally, the hand of 
Bichelieu, under Louis XIII., reduced them all to subjec- 
tion. But it was different in Germany ; the Crown there 
was much more truly elective than in England and France, 
where it was so in theory rather than in fact. In 
Germany it passed from the Frank to the Saxon, to the 
Bavarian, the Swabian, and the Austrian houses. Elec- 
tions were disputed, and rival candidates maintained 
brief authority. The princes, electors, and great vassals 
became all-powerful, and the supremacy of the Emperor 
existed more in name than in reality. 

The princes — that is, the great feudal vassals — had 
their own code gf laws, the Fiirstenrecht ; and by means 
of that established themselves as a class apart from all 
others, as the highest stratum of the social lump. In the 
Volksrechte of the several German races, the principle 
prevailed that * the child should follow the inferior hand ;' 
that, for instance, in a marriage between free men and 
serfs, the child should be servile. But this principle 
was not intended to go further. The Fiirstenrecht 
gave it another character altogether, by making it 
applicable to the intercourse of princes with the gentry 
and biirgers. Gentry and biirgers were free men; but 
the princes began to treat them as the free men had 
treated the serfs — to forbid intermarriage with them. The 

lo Germany, Present and Past. 

Volksrechte established the law to keep Teutonic blood 
from intermixture. The Fiirstenrecht used it for the 
purpose of glorifying the class of crown vassals at the 
expense of others. 

Nothing of the sort existed elsewhere. In France no 
law of the sort was known. The Princes of Vendome, 
Vemeuil, Vermandois, Maine, Penthi^vre, &c. were legi- 
timatised, not because they sprang from the union of a 
sovereign with a woman of another class, but because they 
were the children of mistresses. Amqng the noble fami- 
lies the children proved their blood by their father's pedi- 
gree. It is the same in England. James II. married the 
daughter of Chancellor Hyde, and their daughters, Mary 
and Anne, came to the throne. This could not have been 
in Germany. Mary and Anne would have been esteemed 
illegitimate. As English peers were not ' immediate,' ex- 
ercising legal jurisdiction within their counties and duchies, 
the German high nobility never have acknowledged, and do 
not at the present day acknowledge, them as their equals in 
birth. Marriage was allowed with only six French fami- 
lies, which, although not enjoying sovereign rights, were 
yet related to reigning families, or were descended from 
houses once sovereign. These were the houses of Lorraine, 
Savoy, Grimaldi (princes of Monaco), Rohan, Tr^mouille, 
and La Tour d'Auvergne (Dukes of Bouillon). 

The title of Fiirst or Prince belonged to the holder 
of a feof under the crown, who exercised immediate juris- 
diction in his principality. Consequently landgraves, 
margraves, counts palatine, burggraves, as well as dukes, 
were princes. So also were all such counts as had acquired 
independence in troublous times, and had wrung from 
the emperors acknowledgment of it, even though they did 
not acquire a right to sit in the Imperial Diet. 

When a count who was a prince died, he left, we will 

The Upper Nobility. 1 1 

say, six sons. Then the estates of the family, and, after a 
time, the crown feofs, were divided equally among them 
all ; but one son only, or at the utmost two, remained re- 
sponsible for the feudal lands to the crown, and this one 
son inherited the title of prince, whereas his brothers did 
not. They remained counts, calling themselves after the 
estates they inherited, but were not princely counts. 

Beside the princes, temporal and spiritual, were the 
free imperial cities. In these the council {RaiK) exercised 
' immediate ' jurisdiction, and delegates from these free 
cities sat with the princely electors in the Diet. In 1512, 
under the Emperor Maximilian, the Diet {Reichstag) was 
a body of three ranks, or classes — the electors, the princes, 
and the free cities. The electors alone had a voice in the 
nomination of the Emperor. At this date the Diet was 
composed of about a thousand ^immediate' princely 
powers, secular and ecclesiastical. Of the latter there were 

In the course of the next three hundred years a great 
number of illustrious princely and countly houses died out ; 
as, for instance, the dukes of Pomerania, of Juliers-Cleves- 
Berg, of Saxe-Ijauenburg, the margraves of Anspach and 
Baireuth, the princely counts of Henneberg, and the 
counts of Mansfeld, Gleichen, Hanau, Schaumburg, Diep- 
holz, &c. But the Emperors of Austria set to work recruit- 
ing the ranks, in a manner not creditable to themselves. 
Already, at the end of the fifteenth century, they had 
begun issuing patents to their favourites conferring on 
them the titles and prerogatives of princes. The very 
first to receive such a diploma was the Count of Croy, an 
ancient house in the Netherlands. In 1 486 it was made 
princely. But it was not till late, in 1803, that it was 
admitted to a place in the Diet. The Arembergs, who 
obtained title and seat in 1 583, sat next to the dukes of 

12 Germany, Present and Past 

Wiirtemberg, and older families by far, such as those of 
Orange and HohenzoUem, took very subordinate places. 
After the Thirty Years' war new princes were created by the 
dozen — as the Liecht^nsteins, the Diedrichsteins, the Auer- 
spergs, and the Esterhazys. Many of these families were 
of no antiquity or were insignificant ; they received their 
princely coronets as rewards for conversion from Protes- 
tantism. A needy Italian, Count della Torre del Tasso, 
came to the court of Frederick III. and was made chief 
forester. He then organised a postal service, and his 
grandson, in 1500, was created postmaster-general; and 
this office and the farming of the post-office were made 
hereditary in the family. The postK)ffice was a great 
success, and made the fortime of the masters. Torre del 
Tasso became, in German, Thum und Taxis ; in 1605, 
Leonard von Taxis was made a baron, and in 1621 his 
son was created a count. He established a riding post 
between Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. The 
income brought in by the post mounted to a million of 
florins annually. In 1686 the house was made princely, 
but did not gain a place in the college of princes of the 
empire till 1754. Though thus made to rank with sove- 
reigns, they never possessed ' immediate ' jurisdiction. The 
Auerspergs, Liechtensteins, Esterhazys, and Trautmann- 
dorfs were made princes as a reward for abandoning 
Protestantism. I have said that, when a prince had several 
sons, the estates were divided among them, but that one 
only retained the title and dignity of prince. This was 
the case till the end of the Thirty Years' war, when every 
petty count could obtain from the Emperor recognition of 
the independency which was virtually his. 

The following table of the branchings of the family of 
Nassau will show how one small countly house could 
become a nursery of princes : — 

The Upper Nobility. 




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14 Germany, Present and Past. 

After the fetshion of the Emperor, each Elector con- 
stituted his court, with sewers, hutlers, foresters and 
marshals, chosen from among the landed gentry of his 
province. And just as in the Empire such officers were 
made hereditary, so was it in the provinces. A Prince 
Palatinate held his court with as great splendour as the 
Emperor ; and the best families in the Palatinate minis- 
tered to the Elector as to their king. The present house 
of Schonbom is descended from a Bhineland family in 
which was the hereditary office of butler to the Arch- 
bishop of Mainz. The Mettemichs were hereditary 
chancellors to the Archbishop of Cologne. The Stadions, 
sewers to the see of Augsburg. The Wurmbrands, cooks 
to the counts of Styria. The Count von der Lippe held 
the basin, and Count Bentheim poured the rose-water, at 
table, over the fingers of the Elector of Hesse-Cassel.' 

The law of ^ Ebenbiirtigkeit ' has been already spoken 
of. We shall see now its working in the families of the 

According to this law, a prince, or a count of the 
Empire, if he married beneath him, even with a daughter 
of one of the old noble families of the land which was 
^mediate,' could not leave his titles and office to his 
children by her. The children followed their mother, 
bore her name, and were, in the eye of the law, illegi- 

The Elector Frederic of the Palatinate, in 1462, 
married Clara Detten, an Augsburg damsel, lady-in- 
waiting and singer at the court in Munich. His son by 
her, Ludwig, was, at his request, made Count of Lowenstein 
by the Emperor Maximilian, and is the ancestor of the 
princely house of that name in Wiirtemberg, which can 

' AU these families are now princely, and can only mate morga- 
natically into our great houses. 

The Upper Nobility. 15 

now only mate with sovereign houses. It was in vain 
that Frederic tried to obtain recognition of his burger 
wife, and of his son as his legitimate heir. Ludwig was 
obliged to content himself with the county of Lowenstein 
bought for him. 

The Archduke Ferdinand of Austria married the 
beautiful Philippina Welser, a member of one of the 
wealthiest citizen families in Augsburg. The Emperor 
created her Margravine of Burgau, and Ferdinand's sons 
took their mother's title. Succession to the Austrian 
dukedom or any of their father's titles was not possible. 

One house in Grermany has been conspicuous for its 
mesalliances. This is the house of Anhalt-Dessau. We 
will look at its history and see the curious consequences of 
this law of * Ebenbiirtigkeit.' 

Leopold I., ^ the old Dessauer,' insisted on marrying 
Anna-Louise Fohse, daughter of an apothecary, in spite of 
his mother's remonstrances. To save the house from 
extinction, the Emperor, in 1701, raised Anna-Louise to 
the rank of Princess of the Empire, so as to legitimatise 
her children. She left four sons ; the eldest of these, 
Gustavus, did not succeed his father, for he died before 
him. . Oustavus married, also below his rank, a brewer's 
daughter, and by her left six sons. But though the 
Emperor ennobled them and made them counts, they were 
not allowed to succeed ^the old Dessauer,' and con- 
sequently Leopold's second son followed him on the 
princely throne. Prince George of Dessau married 
Theresa von Erdmannsdorf, daughter of a Prussian chief 
forester, and left by her three sons. His brother William 
married Emilie Clausnitzer, daughter of a music-master, in 
1841. The pastor who married them was fined 1,000 
thalers. Their children had to be ennobled, but were 
never regarded as capable of succeeding to the principality. 

1 6 Germany, Present and Past. 

John Giinther, Prince of Schwarzburg, left four sons. The 
two eldest died without issue. The third married below 
his rank, and though he had sons, on the death of John 
Giinther the youngest brother succeeded. The nephews 
were treated as illegitimate. Charles Frederick of Anhalt- 
Bemburg, who died in 1721, married the daughter of the 
Imperial Chancellor Niissler; but, though tlie Emperor 
created her Countess of Ballenstadt, her sons could not 
obtain recognition as heirs presumptive. ITie Duchy of 
Saxe-Cobiurg-Gotha passed over the heads of the sons of 
Duke Christian Ernst (d. 1745) to their uncle, because 
the Duke had married ' unebenbiirtig.' 

Duke fiudolf Augustus of Brunswick-Liineburg, after 
the death of his first wife, loved Elizabeth Bosina Meuthe, 
daughter of a barber of Minden. * You shall not be my 
left-handed, but my right-handed wife,' said the prince to 
her as they were married at Hedwigsburg in July, 1681. 
They lived together happily for twenty years, but without 
their having any children. Had she borne him a son, the 
child would not have been recognised by the Estates, in 
spite of the Duke giving its mother his right hand. 

Princess Augusta Amelia of Nassau married the Prince 
of Hesse-Homburg in 1804, and was divorced from him 
next year. In 1807 she married Herr Friedrich Wilhelm 
von Bismark, her brother's adjutant. To help him up 
into something like equality with her, the King of Wiit- 
temberg made him count. In 1)848 the princess died, 
and then the count married her chambermaid, Amalie 
Thibaut. If his first marriage had been * imstandesmassig,' 
so was his second, now that he was a count, and the Wiir- 
temberg government refused to acknowledge his children 
by the second wife — he had none by the first — as legiti- 
mate. Consequently his title has gone to his nephew. 
The case is the more curious as the Graf was not made 

The Upper Nobility. 17 

*' ebenbiirtig ' with princes, and therefore does not come 
under the law that affects their marriagesJ 

The result of the Thirty Years' war was not exactly the 
surviyal of the Fittest, but of the Biggest. The lower 
nobility had been greatly exhausted ; whole families had 
been swept away. How readily this extinction was likely 
' to occur among a class, the sons of which were born to 
war, may be judged from a few examples. In 1278, in 
the battle of Marchfeld, there were fourteen Trautmanns- 
dorfs left dead. In that of Miihldorf, in 1322, twenty- 
three of the same family rode with Frederic of Austria 
against Louis the Bavarian, and of these twenty fell. 
Three only escaped to continue the line. In the Seven 
Years' war, one family, that of von Wedel, lost fifty-three 
of its members on the battle-field. The immunities of 
the Free-imperial-knights were jeopardised. The number 
of those who claimed them was greatly reduced. The 
power of the Free cities was broken, and the ecclesiastical 
estates were a prey to the first appropriator. The Rhe- 
nish palatinate was, moreover, gone. The ancient Empire 
existed merely in name ; the supremacy of the Emperor, 
and with it the unity of the body of the State, sank to a 
mere shadow. Eveiy member of the Empire exercised the 
right of proclaiming war, of concluding peace, and of 
contracting treaties with every European power, the Em- 
peror alone excluded. Each of the princes possessed 
almost unlimited authorivy over his subjects, whilst the 
Emperor retained only some inconsiderable prerogatives 
or reservations. The princes were further strengthened 
by the secularisation of a multitude of ecclesiastical prin- 

* A glanoe at the Almanaeh d9 Oatha will show that at present 
there are several morganatic marriages in German sovereign and 
prinoelj families. The children of all these unions are illegitimate. 
They cannot take the father's princely rank and title. 

VOL. I. C 

1 8 Germany, Present and Past, 

cipalities and estates. The Elector of Brandenburg appro- 
priated to himself the Bishoprics of Halb^rstadt, Minden, 
Gamin, and the reversion of Magdeburg. Oldenburg laid 
hold of the Bishopric of Liibeck. The Bishoprics of 
Schwerin and Ratzeburg fell to the grasp of Mecklenburg. 
The Elector of Hanover obtained alternately with a Catholic 
prelate the diocese of Osnabriick. Hesse-Cassel appn>- 
priated the lands of the Abbey of Hirschfeld. But the 
most curious instance of growt.h of a principality by means 
of confiscation was that of Waldeck. Francis, Bishop of 
Miinster, was a baron of Waldeck,* with a castle in forest- 
land, and a few acres of estate about it. He embraced 
Lutheranism, and took as his mistress a certain Anna 
Polman ; by her he had three natural sons, who took as 
their arms a half star, in place of the whole star of the 
pure-blooded Waldecks. The Waldecks used their zeal 
for the Gospel to greatly extend their material prosperity, 
by appropriating^to themselves all the lands of the Church 
on which they could lay their hands. The town of Arolsen 
by this means came to Waldeck, and the whole county 
was made Lutheran compulsorily in 1542, whilst Miinster 
was restored to Catholicism by the bishop as the price of 
getting assistance from the Emperor in reducing the Ana- 
baptists who had wrested it from him. The Waldecks 
were not * immediate,' but held Pyrmont in feof to the 
diocese of Paderbom, and for their county of Waldeck they 
were vassals of Hesse-Cassel. It was not till 178*2 that 
this house, issued from the illegitimate brood of a renegade 
bishop, which had amassed wealth by plunder, obtained 
recognition as princely, on the coronation of Charles VI., 
but even then it was not allowed a seat on the bench of 
princes in the Imperial Council. 

* In 1262, *nobiUs vir Adolphufi de Waldegge;* in 1327, *dominus 
de Waldecke.' 

The Upper Nobility. 19 

In the period of Napoleon's greatness, the main object 
of the German princes was the salvation of their own 
soyereignties, at whose expense mattered little. 

Ach dn heiliger Florion, 

Verschon mein Haus, ziind andre an I 

It is difficult to conceive an attitude more humiliating 
than that assumed by the princes at this time. Instead 
of rallying round Austria in heroic opposition to Napoleon, 
they cringed at his feet. On March 28, 1 806, in defiance 
of the Constitution, von Dalberg, the Chancellor, named 
Napoleon's uncle. Cardinal Fesch, as his coadjutor and 
successor in the see of Mainz, which was to become a 
secular principality in the family of Napoleon. There- 
upon sixteen German princes formally decreed their sepa- 
ration from the Empire. 

By the Peace of Presburg, the year before, the Electors 
of Bavaria and Wiirtemberg had been accorded the title 
of king. In gratitude for this favour they led the servile 
troop, and were followed by the Landgrave of Hesse- 
Darmstadt and the Princes of Nassau, Hohenzollem, 
Salm, Isenburg, &c. 

On August 1, 1806, the French ambassador, Bacher, 
declared that his Emperor no longer recognised Germany 
as an empire ; and on August 6, Francis II. laid down the 
crown of Charlemagne. Thereupon Napoleon rewarded 
Dalberg by creating him Prince-Premier. Of old, at the 
coronation of a German Emperor, the herald had pro- 
claimed, * Where is a Dalberg ? ' and with the sword 
Joyeuse the newly-crowned Emperor had knighted one of 
that family. It had for centuries been an hereditary pre- 
rogative of the family of Dalberg to be the first to receive 
honour of the sovereign. In 1806, the first to lift his 
heel against his Emperor was a Dalberg. The Elector of 

c 2 

20 Germany, Present and Past. 

Baden, the Landgrave of Hesse, for their subserviency, and 
Joachim Murat, Duke of Berg, were raised to grand dukes, 
with royal rights and privileges. The Prince of Nassau- 
Usingen became a duke, and the Count von der Leyen was 
made a prince. The French Emperor proclaimed himself 
patron of the Bund. 

By decision of the Rhenish Confederacy, Numberg lost 
its independence and fell to Bavaria ; Frankfurt became 
the seat of the Prince-Primate ; Heitersheim, which had 
belonged to the Grerman knights, was annexed to Baden ; 
Friedberg fell to Hesse-Darmstadt. But at the same 
time a number of princes and counts who had been made, 
or had made themselves, independent, or * immediate,' 
were ' mediatised,' ^.e. made subjects. Such were the 
Princes of Nassau-Orange-Fulda, of Hohenlohe, Schwarz- 
enberg, Lowenstein, Leiningen, Thum imd Taxis, Salm- 
Reifferscheid-Krautheim, Neuwied, Wied-Runkel, Dettin- 
gen, Fugger, Mettemich, Truchsess, Ftirstenberg, Solms, 
the Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg, the Dukes of Croy and 
Looz-Corswarem, many countly, and all the remaining 
baronial families, which boasted their ' unmittelbarkeit,' 
or ^ immediateness.' 

One remained, overlooked, when the map was re- 
arranged. The Liechtensteins were in the sixteenth 
century marshals to the dukes of Carinthia, and therefore 
^ ministrales ' of the house of Hapsburg. Originally aa 
old Moravian family of Herren von Liechtenstein, they 
were created princes in 1621, during the Thirty Years' 
war, and as none of the family estates in Austria were 
* immediate,' they bought the little county of Vaduz, 
among the rocks under the Sessaplana, on the upper 
Rhine, over which they could exercise sovereign juris- 
diction. When the Rheinbund recast the map of Ger- 
many, this little territory was by oversight left un- 

The Upper Nobility, 21 

mediatised, and to this day it remains an independent 
principality of not nine thousand inhabitants, scattered 
over three geographical square miles. 

On September 25, 1806, the Elector Bishop of Wiirzburg 
joined the Rheinbund, and was rewarded for his submission 
with the title of grand duke. The Elector of Saxony then 
stole in, and was repaid with the royal crown (December 
11, 1806). It was now a race who could get in and get 
something. The Saxon dukes followed; then the two 
Princes of Reuss. The Dukes of Mecklenburg came next. 
Somewhat sulkily Oldenburg stole under cover. By decree 
of December 10, 1810, Napoleon annexed to France the 
Duchy of Mecklenburg, a large portion of Westphalia, and 
Berg. The Duke of Aremberg lost half his lands to France 
and half to Berg. The Princes of Salm also saw their terri- 
tories incorporated into France. The two Dukes of Meck- 
lenberg, who had been almost the last to join the Bund, 
were the first to leave it ( 1813) and join Prussia and Russia 
against Napoleon. They were followed by the Grand Dukes 
of Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt, the Kings of Bavaria and 
Wiirtemberg. Two hesitated — the King of Saxony and the 
Orand Duke of Frankfurt. The former lost thereby half his 
land, the latter all. The same fate attended the French 
intruders, the King of Westphalia, and the Duke of Berg. 
The Duke of Aremberg and the Princes of Isenburg and 
von und zu der Leyen and Salm, who had been spared by 
the Rheinbund, were mediatised by the Congress of Vienna. 
Forty-five princes, of whom three were dukes and forty- 
one counts, also lost their independence, and were forced 
to bow under the rule of their more favoured or fortunate 
neighbours. Lippe had been saved from mediatisation by 
the sagacity of the Princess Pauline, who sent the Empress 
Josephine a dress embroidered with blue jays' feathers, 
and so bought her intercession with Napoleon. Mediati- 

22 Germany, Present and Past, 

sation was somewhat arbitrary. Prince Fiirstenberg be- 
came the subject of the Prince of HohenzoUem-Sigma- 
ringen, whose territory was not more extended, nor his 
ancestry more illostrious. But Fiirstenberg was forced to 
pass under Hohenzollern, and not HohenzoUem under 
Fiirstenberg, because the descendant of another branch 
of HohenzoUem sat on the throne of Prussia. In 1849, 
Prussia mediatised HohenzoUem-Hechingen and Hohen- 
zoUem-Sigmaringen, and appropriated the principalities, 
to supply her with a convenient foothold in the midst of 
Wiirtemberg. Mediatisation was nowhere opposed except 
at Mergetheim, where the bauers refused to give oath of 
allegiance to the King of Wiirtemberg till released by their 
old lord, the Archduke Anthony of Austria. Frederick of 
. Wiirtemberg marched dragoons among them and hung and 
shot the objectors. The marriage of provinces to king- 
doms has its honeymoon not on union, but long after. 

In vain did the mediatised princes protest and 
appeal to Austria. Austria was powerless to help them.^ 

By the Act of the Sheinbund certain rights had been 
reserved to them. 

1. They were to be regarded as * ebenbiirtig ' with 
reigning families — ^i.6. able to contract marriages with 
sovereign houses. 

2.' They were to form the highest aristocracy in the 
land into which their principalities were absorbed, and 
to have a position in the House of Peers. Confirmed in 

3. They were to be exempted from taxation. 

4. They were to be allowed to exercise magisterial 
rightS'On their estates. This privilege was withdrawn in 

* They were said to be mediatised because before they were m- 
mediate goyemors of their territories, < reidbs-unmittelbare Filrsten.* 

The Upper Nobility. 23 

6. They were * to bear the titles they had borne before 
mediatisation, with omission only of all dignities and 
predicates expressive of their former relation to the 
Empire, or to their position as former sovereigns of the 
land.' Yet the head of one of these Families is allowed to 
be called ^ the reigning prince,' and to use the plurcUia 
Tfiajestaticus. By decree of the German Confederation, 
August 18, 1825, and March 12, 1829, confirmed 
June 12, 1845, the mediatised princes and dukes are 
to be addressed as ^ durchlaucht ' (your serene highness), 
and the mediatised counts as ' erlaucht ' (your highness). 

G. They might be attended by a body-guard of not 
exceeding thirty men. 

The mediatised princes lost all sources of revenue 
which were derived from sovereignty, but retained all that 
were derived from property. 

Since 1806 the mediatised princes, called in Grerman 
Standesherren, enjoy the greatest privileges in Prussia. In 
the Prussian monarchy there are seventeen ; they sit in 
the Chamber of Lords. In Silesia, Saxony, and the 
Lausitz, there are twenty-eight more * Standesherren,' of 
which the most illustrious is the House of Stolberg.^ 
There are other princely and coimtly families in Prussia, 
but as they were not independent (unTaitteJJbar) before 
the Rheinbund Act, they cannot intermarry with royal 
families, or even with the families of the mediatised 
nobles. Such are the princely houses of Bliicher of 
Wahlstadt, Hatzfeld-Trachenberg, Hatzfeld-Wildenberg, 
Lichnowskyj Lynar, Pless, Putbus-Wrede. Absurd as it 

1 Aremberg-Croy, Rheina-Wolbeck, Bentheim-Rbeda, Bentheim- 
Bentheim, Salm-Horstmar, Salm-Salm, Sajn-Wittgenstein-Berleborg, 
Sa/n-Wittgenstein-HoheDstein, Solms-Braunfels, Solma-Hohensolms, 
Wrede, Thum nnd Taxis, Walmoden-Gimbom, the barons of Boyneburg, 
Orote,yon Stein, the counts of Isenbnrg-Philippseich, Isenburg-Badin- 
gen, Erbach-Fuistenan, Erbach-Brbach, Erbach-Schonberg, &c. 

24 Germany, Present and Past 

may seem, it is yet true, no doubt, that a prince of Salm 
can only marry a princess Bliicher morganatically. 

In the Austrian monarchy are many houses formerly 
* immediate,' but whose estates there were never * imme- 
diate.' That is to say, houses which were immediate — 
say in Swabia — ^had lands over which they had no sove- 
reign jurisdiction in Austria. Their lands out of Austria 
they have perhaps lost or sold, but they remain sovereign 
houses mediatised, retaining only estates over which they 
never had independent authority. In 1825 the Emperor 
of Austria followed the example of the Bheinbund, and 
mediatised all these, giving them the predicate of ' durch- 
laucht' (serene highness), and ' durchlaucht hochgebomer 
Fiirst (serene highborn prince). Of these there are forty- 
seven.^ In Bavaria, by decree of December 31, 1806, the 
mediatised princes, counts, and barons were deprived of all 
independent jurisdiction, but were given many gi^eat 
privileges and a seat in the first house. By decree of 1 8 1 7, 
the ducal house of Leuchtenberg has precedence over all the 
other * Standesherren,' numbering in all twenty-three.* 

In Wiirtemberg there are thirty-five * Standesherren ; ' 
their position was secured by royal proclamation Decem- 
ber 8, 1821. Of these thirty-four sit in the House of 
Peers.' The Prince of Mettemich, who used to be peer 

* Fourteen (Auersperg, CoUoredo-Mansfeld, Diedrichstein, Ester- 
hazy, Eannitz, Bietberg, Elevenhuller, Lobkowitz, Mettemich, Rosen- 
berg, Schwarzenberg, Schdnbom, Starkemberg, Trautmannsdorf, and 
Windischgratz) are in the Austrian monarchy, thirty-three are outside 
of it. 

* Esterhazy of Galentha, Fugger-Babenhausen, Fugger-Glott, Fug- 
ger - Kirchheim, Fugger-Neuendorf, Fugger-Kirchberg, Hohenlohe- 
SchiUingsf iirst, Leiningen, Lowenstein-Freudenberg in both branches, 
Lowenstein- Rosenberg, Dettingen-Dettingen,] Dettingen-Wallerstein, 
Hchwarzenberg, Thurn n. Taxis, CasteU in two branches, Erbach, 
Gicch, Orttenburg, Rechteren-Limpurg, Schonbom-Wiesentheid, s^d 

* Dietrichstein, Fiirst enberg, Hohenlohe- Bartenstein-Jaztberg, Ho- 

The Upper Nobility. 25 

in Wiirtemberg for the principalities of Ochsenhausen and 
Winneburg, sold them to the Grown, and thus ceased to 
have a seat on the bench. 

In Hanover there are three peers,' in Baden eight,' 
in Kur-Hesse are four,* in the Grand Duchy nineteen;* 
in Nassau are five,' in Oldenburg only the Count of 

A good number of the German princes, reigning and 
mediatised, derive from the old feudal vassals of the 
Crown. The Gjand Duke of Baden, for instance, descends 
&om the Counts of Zahringen and Ortenau, and they are 
clearly traceable to a count placed over the Breisgau, a 
^ miniitterialis ' of the Emperor — an ennobled charcoal- 
burner, according to tradition. So also the Princes of 

henlohe-WaldeDborg-SchillingsfuTst, Hohenlohe-Oehringen, Hohenlohe- 
Kirchberg, Hohenlohe-Bartenstein, Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Lowec- 
stein-Wertbeim-Freadenburg, with its two branches, Lowenstein- 
Wertbeim - Rosenberg, Oettingen - Oett ingen, Oettingen - Wallerstein, 
Salm - Reifferscheidt - Kraut heim, Schwarzenberg, Holnis • Braunf els, 
Thnm n. Taxis, Waldbnrg-Waldsee, Waldburg-Trauchburg, Wald- 
bnrg-Wurzach, Windischgnitz, Erdcidy,) Jsenbnrg-Meerholz, Konigs- 
egg-Anlendorf, Limburg, Quadt, Rechberg a. Rothenlowen, Rotb- 
Wartenberg, Schasberg, IStadion, Sternberg, Torring a. Tengling, 
Waldbott-Bassenheim, and Waldeck. 

> Aremberg, Bentheim-Bentheim, Rheina-Wolbeck. 

* Fiirstenberg, Leiningen-Hardenburg-Dachsbnrg, Leiningen-Billig- 
heim, Leiningen - Nundenan, von nnd zu der Lcyen, Lowenstein- 
Wertheim - Freudenberg, Lowenstein - Wertheim, Rosenberg, Salm, 

' Isenburg-Birstein, Isenhnrg-Budingen in Wachtersbach, Isenbnrg- 
Biidingen in Meerholz, Solms-Rodelheim. 

* Isenburg-Birstein, Lowenstein-Rosenberg, Solms-Braunf els, Solms- 
Lich u. Hohensolms, Solms-Rodelheim, Solms-Laubach, Solms-Wilden- 
fels, Erbach-Erbach, Erbach-Schonberg, Erbach-Fiirstenau, Isenburg- 
Biidingen, Isenburg-Btld ingen in Meerholz, Jsenburg-Biidingen in 
Waditersbach, Alt-Leiningen-Westerburg, Schonborn, Stolberg-Werni- 
gerode, Stolberg-Rossla, the Bar&n von Riedseck, and the Count of 

* Holzappel and Schaumburg, von der Leyen, Wied, Waldbott, 
Basaenbeim, Nen- Leiningen- Westerburg. 

26 Germany^ P^-esent and Past. 

Anhalt derived from a gau-graf of Northern Swabia, and 
the King of Prussia from a burgrave of Niimberg, invested 
with the feof by Henry VI. Others represent old 
princely families with sovereign blood in their veins. 
The Erbachs claim descent from Emma, daughter of 
Charlemagne. Unfortunately for the claim, it is pretty 
clearly demonstrable that Charlemagne had no daughter 
named Emma. 

Some again present princely houses represent very 
ancient families regarded as noble from a remote anti- 
quity-^as the Fiirstenbergs, Dettingens, Hohenlohes, 
Solms, and Leiningens. Others are of mere biirger 
origin, as the Fuggers, weavers of Augsburg, and the 
Waldbotts, merchants of Bremen. Others, again, spring 
from alliances of princes with mistresses. Such is tbe 
family of Platen. Clara Elizabeth of Meissenbach married 
Baron Franz von Platen. She became the mistress of the 
first Elector of Hanover, the father of George I. The 
husband, for accommodating the Elector with his wife, was 
created a Count of the Empire, and the post-office was 
made hereditary in the family. The son of Countess 
Platen — whether the Elector or the Coimt was the father 
nobody knows — married a daughter of General von 
Uffeln,' and she became a mistress of George I., but 
was deposed for the sister of Count Platen, married to 
Baron von Kielmannsegge, created by the king Countess 
of Arlington. The mediatised Counts of Wallmoden had 
a similar, and not more savoury, origin for their ' imme- 

After the Thirty Years' war, Austria created the postr- 
master family of Thum und Taxis princely and immediate. 
The old Duchess of Orleans, % princess palatine by birth, 
wrote : * A prince of Taxis I This- is a wonderful prince- 
dom indeed I If you want a pack of princes of this sort, 

The Upper Nobility. 27 

you can create them by the dozen.' In 1708 she wrote 
about the newly-created Free-imperial-counts of Wurm- 
brand : * Of the county of Wurmbrand I never heard in 
all my life; it must be something newly cooked, or 
Austrian/ It is not to be wondered at that numbers of 
ancient families, as the Ouelfs, Wettiners, and Holsteiners, 
should feel indignant to have to rank among such, and to 
give these newly-fledged princes a seat beside them in the 
Diet. If the Protestant princes did not remonstrate at 
this privilege being freely given as a reward for conver- 
sion, it was only because they wanted the samcf favour 
awarded them for their sons by mistresses, or by morgan- 
atic wives. When the Emperor offered the title of prince 
to Coimt Anthony Giinther of Oldenburg, of the illustrious 
House of Holstein, ' No, thank you,' he said ; * I had rather 
enter at the head of the counts than bring up the tail of 
the princes.' With an outburst of rage and contempt, a 
Count of Orange-Nassau flung behind him one of the 
newly-cooked princes who was entering the council- 
chamber of the Emperor before him, bitterly exclaiming, 
^ Apprenez, monsieur, que des princes comme vous mar- 
chent apr^ des comtes comme nous.' 

The recruiting of the * immediate ' nobility went on 
with great activity during the 320 years since the first 
patent was given to the Croys, in 1486, to the year 1804, 
when the Trautmannsdorfs closed the series. In that 
period twenty-nine diplomas have been issued creating 
Princes of the Empii^,and twenty three making Counts of 
the Empire, all ' immediate.' The venerable houses of 
Stolberg in Prussia, and Castell and Ortenburg in Bavaria, 
are the only three among the mediatised which do not 
owe their origin to Austria. Isenburg, Leiningen, Solms, 
and Wittgenstein were indeed old Counts of the Empire 
before the introduction of patents, but they were made 

28 Germany, Present and Past. 

princely by Austria in 1743, 1779, 1742, and 1792 re- 
spectively. For a long time the Herren von or zu der 
Lippe refused to be ennobled by patent. Their nobility 
dated from the remotest antiquity, and they exercised 
jurisdiction over their retainers and vassals under feof to 
the see of Paderbom and the house of Hesse-Gassel. At 
the Beformation they took the title of count, but it was 
not till 1789 that the Count of Lippe-Detmold conde- 
scended to accept a diploma from Joseph II. creating him 
a prince. 

Notwithstanding the dying out of many hundreds of 
illustrious immediate, princely, and countly houses, the 
Austrian factory had worked so vigorously that, at the 
breaking out of the Revolution, there were 300 free 
imperial princes and counts, and several thousand imme- 
diate barons and knights, who did not indeed enjoy a seat 
on the bench of princes, but exercised almost absolute 
sovereignty in their petty estates. Of these there were 
all degrees, from the powerful Elector-Kings of Branden- 
burg-Prussia and Hanover-England to the tiniest counts 
and barons and knights lording it over their little patches 
of land and handfuls of bauers. The sovereign Count of 
Leinburg-Styrum-Wilhelmsdorf, in Franconia, had a 
standing army of hussars, consisting of a colonel, nine 
lower oflScers, and two privates. He published, however, 
his ^ Court Gazette,' and instituted an order in his diminu- 
tive realm. Baron Grrote, in the Harz, reigned over one 
farm ; and when Frederic the Great came there, he met 
him with a fraternal embrace, saying, ^ VoiU deux souve- 
rains qui se rencontrent.' 

At the present day the sovereign principsdity of 
Liechtenstein consists of a village or two, some Alpine 
pastures, and scattered farms. The diminutive capital 
contains 1,000 inhabitants. The principality under the 

The Upper Nobility. 29 

Bund furnished a contingent of 55 men. The govern- 
ment is monarchical, but has been constitutional since 
1818 ; there is only one chamber of representatives. 
The still smaller county of Bentheim has been virtually 
absorbed into Prussia, and as a recompense for resigning 
his sovereignty the head of the house has been given the 
title of Prince (Fiirst) instead of that of Count. 

The Rheinbund reduced the list of three hundred 
sovereigns to about thirty ; the spiritual princes had dis- 
appeared wholly. But the Baron von der Leyen was made 
a prince by the Bund, and in 1837 the house of Bentheim 
was accorded the same honour by Prussia. 

The word ' Adel,' which we translate w>hle^ has in 
German a signification more extended. There are the 
* hoher Adel ' and the ' nieder Adel.' To the former cate- 
gory belong all those families which aipa4>rincely, and can 
mate only among themselves or into the foreign sovereign 
houses — the families which, as von Stein coarsely said, will 
serve as a stud for Bussia, and not for Russia only. To 
the latter category belong all counts, barons, and * vons ' — 
all, that is, who have a right to bear a coat-of-arms, and 
are reckoned in England as gentlemen by birth. There 
are, however, princes who hover in an ambiguous position 
between these classes, princes to whom the predicate of 
durchlaucht (* your serene highness ') is accorded, but who 
are not r^;arded as * ebenbiirtig ' with other serene high- 
nesses, or even with countly highnesses. For instance, 
the countly houses of Isenburg-Philippseich, of Isenburg- 
Biidingen, and of Erbach, belong to the very highest 
stratum of the German aristocracy, ranking at court among 
sovereign princes; but the princely houses of Bliicher, 
Hatzfeldt, Lichnowsky, Lynar, Pless, Putbus, and Wrede 
do not, in this respect. A Prince Bismarck, for in- 
stance, could not marry into a &mily of a mediatised 

30 Germany^ Present and Past. 

baron. The Bismarcks, though made princely, are not 
made * ebenbiirtig ' with the families to whom the privilege 
of mating with royalty was accorded by Act of June 8, 

If any member of one of the reigning or mediatised 
families contracts a marriage with a person below his rank, 
the marriage is entitled morganatic. It is performed 
in church by priest or pastor, but the sons are mules ; they 
neither inherit the rank or reversion of estates of the family, 
nor can they continue the pedigree. The morganatic wife is 
no wife in the eye of the law, because not acknowledged 
by the family ; and the families of the upper nobility are 
allowed to make rules among themselves barring or 
licensing marriages. Of this more in another chapter. 
The union with the morganatic wife, be it remembered, 
has been blessed by the Church, and sealed with solemn 
vows of mutual fidelity before God, publicly taken. The 
' unebenbiirtige ' wife who gives her hand to a prince 
does so trusting not to the law, but to his honoiu* as 
a gentleman and to his oath as a Christian, and the 
prince who takes advantage of his legal privilege to 
throw her aside when a more profitable match pre- 
sents, forfeits his rights to be regarded as one or the 

I know the case of a prince, the member of one of the 
first mediatised families in Germany, who in an access of 
youthful ardour married an actress. He sacrificed for her 
his title and every oflSce about court. She was his wife 
before God, their union had been blessed by the Catholic 
Church, and he would not appear among his class without 
her at his side. They live together now as Herr and Frau 

von X . Her charms have withered, and she has sunk 

into exacting and querulous middle age. But he stands 
loyally by her, enduring all her humours, political life 

The Upper Nobility, 31 

closed to him, association with his equals barred, but 
without a thought of casting her aside to emancipate 
himself from the &lse position in which he has placed 
himself. ai sic OTanea ! 

A member of the Grerman high nobility towers, in his 
own opinion and in German law, above our most ancient 
coronetted £Eimilies — and by what right? By decree of 
the Rheinbund ! A Howard, a Percy, a Neville, is not 
fit to mate with a Fugger, a Waldbott, or a Platen. 

The instance of the Fuggers is crucial. 

A weaver of Graben, near Augsburg, in the fifteenth 
century was the founder of this family. A son was 
made a gentleman by Frederic III. in 1452, but this 
branch died out in 1583. The second son, Jacob Fugger, 
left seven sons, whom Maximilian I. ennobled. The 
Emperor pawned to the Fuggers the county of Kirchberg 
and the lordship of Weissenhorn for 70,000 florins. As 
the money was not forthcoming to redeem the estates, 
Charles V. created the brothers Anthony and Raimund 
counts, and made the lands over to them for ever. Though 
Counts of the Empire, the Fuggers stuck to the shop, 
and continued their looms. One branch of the family was 
made 'immediate' by Francis II. in 1803, but it was 
mediatised in 1805 ; thus, it enjoyed its immunity for 
two years, and in virtue thereof a Prince of Fugger- 
Wellerstein, a descendant of the old Augsburg weaver, 
would scorn to marry into any English family except the 
royal family. One pf our ducal houses could only furnish 
him with a morganatic mate. Since the Rheinbund, 
other houses have been mediatised. Hohenzollem-Hech- 
ingen, and HohenzoUem-Sigmaringen went in 1849, Saxe- 
Gotha, Anhalt-Kothen, Anhalt-Bemburg, Hesse-Homburg, 
Hesse-Cassel, Hanover, Nassau, are gone either into limbo or 
among the mediatised. Reuss-Lobenstein, Isenburg and 


32 Germany y Present and Pasi. 

LeyeD, have also had to shuffle off their mortal coil of 
< umnittelbarkeit.' Others must follow in good time. A 
few have sought to buy prolongation of life by marrying 
Prussian princesses, or protection by union with daughters 
of the Czar. But their time will come ; Prussia is pre- 
pared to address them in the words of Lady Macbeth : 

Stand not upon the order of your going, 
Bat go at once. 


The Lower Nobility. 33 



Malcolm. Dispute it like a man. 

Mdeduff. I shall do so ; 

Bat I must also feel it as a man : 

I cannot bat remember sach things were, 

That were most precious to me. 

Macbeth, act. iv. so. 8. 

No ' Adel ' without an allodial estate, was a maxim of 
early German law. The son of an ' edeler Herr ' who did 
not inherit, relapsed into simple freeman. The Edel- 
mann living on his estate held of his ancestors, and not by 
feof of crown or great vassal, was a Freiherr, a lord of 
the manor, or baron. Menzel has happily said that in the 
early Middle Ages all the barons were bauers and all bauers 
barons. It was a favourite saying, ' A nobleman is at the 
plough in the morning, and at tourney in the afternoon. 
A son of Albert of Austria praised an old peasant once 
for his good plough, strapping sod, and sturdy horses. 
Next day he was much surprised to see the old man 
arrive at court at the head of his armed retainers, and 
to learn that he was the Baron of Hegenau. Scott's 
Arnold Biederman is not a fancy picture. There were 
thousands of such rustic nobles scattered over the country. 
Too often they combined taking of tolls with tillage. 

The present princely family of Salm derives from a 
knightly house on the Shine, which made its wealth by 

VOL. I. D 

34 Germany^ Present and Past, 

exacting of every ship that passed Bingen a pound of 
pepper. In Altenburg, near Reutlingen, as late as the 
sixteenth century, lived nobles who on Sunday swaggered 
to church in scarlet mantles, and on week-days divided 
their time between ploughing their fields and taking purses 
on the highway. 

Of landed property there were three sorts : the crown 
lands, given in feof to the great vassals, and the firee land, 
private property, allodium nohiUj held by the baron, and 
aUoiUum vUlanum, held by a bauer, a freeman, but one 
who, on account of the smallness of his estate, could not 
exercise magisterial rights over it. The representatives 
of these two classes in England are the squires and the 
yeomen. Of these, the former were alone ritterbiirtig, 
Le, capable of being knighted, and bearing coats-of-arms. 
They are entitled in mediaeval Latin * mediocriter nobiles/ 
Among the lower nobility the law of * ebenbiirtigkeit ' 
applied only to marriages with ser&. Marriages with free 
persons, the daughters of farmers and of citizens, was 
allowed. Thus, in the story of the * Poor Henry,' which 
Longfellow has adopted for the groundwork of his ' Golden 
Legend,' the knight marries the miller's daughter, who 
was ready to sacrifice her life to cure him of his disease. 
Such an union was unusual, but not illegal. So also the 
country nobles married rich citizens' daughters, to recruit 
their dilapidated fortunes. It was not till the fifteenth, 
century that this was deprecated. At a tournament at 
Onolzbach in 1485 it was decided that a nobleman who 
had married a biirger's daughter was not to be allowed t.o 
enter the lists against other gentlemen, unless she had 
brought with her a dower of 4,000 florins. 

Marriage out of their rank did not debar the sons 
from inheriting the name, title, and estate of the father, 
but after the fifteenth century it did bar their way to the 

The Lower Nobility. 35 

eDJoyment of certain privileges. There were offices about 
the court of the prince which they were not allowed to fill ; 
they could not take the seats occupied by their fathers in 
the provincial diets. Ecclesiastical benefices, chapters, and 
certain abbeys were closed to nobles who could not prove 
purity of blood through eight or sixteen descents on both 
sides. And in German heraldry a mesaUiance effaces every 
quartering on a shield, and leaves the noble who has con- 
tracted it with, indeed, his family coat, but with a cancelled 
past, to start a new family, and be the root of a new genea- 
logical tree. In the play of * Pfeffer Rosel,' the Baron 
of Sonnenberg marries a market-girl. The Emperor bids 
six ladies of his court lay their hands on her head, and he 
ennobles an ancestor of the gingerbread-seller with each 
hand that reposes on her, so as to save the escutcheon 
and the pedigree of the Sonnenbergs. The ennobling of 
ancestors long gathered to the dust was done not infre- 
quently to assure the benefits of his rank to their de- 
scendant. The Chinese system is the reverse of the German. 
In the Celestial Empire the exaltation of a man to be 
a mandarin, mandarinises — excuse the expression — all his 

By the fifteenth century many of the barons had 
called themselves counts. They had assumed the title 
without having any of the requisites of a count. They 
were not vassals holding feofs firom the crown. But 
the original countly families had broken into so many 
branches — each branch and subramification had carried 
with it the title — that the old Freiherren thought they 
might as well bear it also. But there were also a great 
many landed gentry who contented themselves with the 
title of ' edler Herr von ' — like the Scottish ' laird.' A 
few, a very few, old families remain on their ancestral 
estates, untitled. Such is the family of Cranz von Pudlitz, 

D 2 

36 Germany, Present and Past, 

to this day proudly declining coronets, whether offered 
by Emperors or Grand Dukes. The head of the house 
is simply designated Der edeler Herr von Pudlitz, and 
the brothers are content with the modest prefix of ' von.' 
Yet the family can show an unbroken pedigree from the 
sixth century, / 

The nobility enjoyed several privileges at the close 
of the Middle Ages, and till the French Revolution. 

1. They held an hereditary magistracy in their estates. 
This was much as if every county squire was ex officio 
justice of peace. 

2. They sat on the upper bench in the provincial 

3. They had the right of settling tradesmen on their 
estates — a valuable privilege, as it checked the monopoly 
of the guilds. 

4. They were exempt from having soldiers quartered 
on them. 

5. They were exempt from paying taxes. 

6. They were exempt from judicial mutilation, and 
insulting punishments. 

With the break-up of the Empire many piivileges 
were given up or abolished. The right of exemption 
from having soldiers quartered on them was the first to 
go. In the Thirty Years' war neither Swedes nor Im- 
perialists were likely to respect such a privilege, when 
the house of the gentleman offered the most comfortable 

The next to go was exemption from taxation. At 
first, the nobility sought to save the principle by granting 
subsidies ; but this did not last long : the free contribu- 
tions expected of them were found .to exceed the sum that 
could be exacted by taxation, and in their own interest 
they yielded. 

The Lower Nobility. 37 

A fBLVOurite print in village inns represents the bauer 
and the parasites who prey on him arranged on a scale. 
The Emperor stands on one step with the motto, ^ I live 
on the taxes.' The soldier on another stage boasts, ^ I 
pay for nothing.' The pastor on his platform says, ^ I 
am supported by the tithe.' The beggar whines, * I live 
on what is given me.' The nobleman airily says, * I pay 
no taxes ; ' and the Jew mutters, * I bleed them all.' Be- 
neath the whole crew stands the bauer with bent back, 
exclaiming, ^ Dear Crod, help me I I have to maintain all 
these.' The burdens remain to this day unrelieved, rather 
made more onerous ; but the Beamter, the government 
official, has taken the place of the Edelmann. There was 
a reason for the exemption of the nobleman from taxation. 
He paid with his blood. The gentleman was the soldier 
of the Empire. His profession was arms. The battle- 
field consumed his sons. The farmer tilled and reaped, 
and psdd tax to be allowed to carry on his agricultural 
round without molestation, without having to buckle on 
the sword and grasp the spear, when he ought to be sow- 
ing or reaping. But when the military system ceased to 
be feudal, this reason for exemption ceased also ; and when 
it ceased it was abandoned. With Jbhe surrender of exemp- 
tion from taxation, and from being quartered upon, the 
special privileges distinguishing the gentry from ordinary 
freemen were gone. Those that remained were unim- 
portant. The nobleman might, indeed, claim a right to 
sit on a chair when had up before a court of justice, and 
to be cited by written summons, not by word of mouth ; to 
be married in his castle instead of in the parish church, 
and to put a lock on his piew ; but these were privileges 
rapidly becoming antiquated, little valued, and ready to 
disappear ; or were shared with wealthy citizens ; and 
were a grievance to nobody. 

38 Germany^ Present and Past. 

It was otherwise with the rights claimed by the nobility 
and gentry as landed proprietors. 

The English system of letting farms for a term of 
years at a fixed annual rent — a system which dates back 
to the reign of Edward III. — was unknown in Germany. 
So also wa9 the Italian system of farming estates, the 
tenant sharing the profits equally with the landlord. 
Money was scarce in Germany, and what money there 
was had a limited circulation ; for every free city, sove- 
reign, count, and margrave coined; and these several 
coinages lost value beyond the district. 

The German system was essentially feudal. The 
nobility were so constantly engaged in war that they could 
not attend to their land ; they therefore gave it to villein 
or freebom farmers on ' lehn ' — in feof. A large tract of 
crown land, for instance, was given by the Emperor in 
feof to a count. The graf did homage for the * lehn ' 
on bended knee, when invested with it. He was thence- 
forth bound to supply the Emperor from it with a certaiq 
number of fighting men. The count appointed stewards 
(vogte) over the land ; they built themselves castles, and 
supplied their lord with men and money. Their offices 
became hereditary in their families. The Castle of 
Staufen belonged to the Dukes of Zahringen, but it was 
inhabited from generation to generation by stewards who 
called themselves lords of Staufen. It was of one of these 
von Staufen that the story was told which forms the 
basis of Fouqu^'s * Undine.' The farms were given by 
these stewards to peasants in feof, and the bauers under- 
took to supply their lords with so many sacks of com, so 
many pecks of malt, so many horses, oxen, geese, and 
eggs in the year. The farm once given was very generally 
given for ever ; it became an heritable tenure, just as the 
tenure of the vogt and that of the graf had become heredi- 

The Lower Nobility. 39 

tary. The castle and barony of Wildenstein was ^ feudal 
tenure in male line belonging to the Palatinate of the 
Rhine. In the beginning of the fifteenth century it 
was given in feof to Baron John von Zimmem, in this 
curious &shion, that he should share the castle with 
another feudal tenant, the knight John Conrad von 
Bodmann, divide the farms and villages, and on the death 
of the knight buy right of succession of his lieirs for 600 
florins. The Baron von Zimmern was a wag and fond of 
a rough broad joke. On his entering into possession, the 
bauers of Wittershausen thought to ingratiate themselves 
with him by ministering to his sense of fun. When he 
came to visit their village and fix their annual payment, 
they assembled on the greensward beside the road, and 
lying in a circle entangled their legs together, and when 
be rode up, he found a ring of wriggling peasants with 
their nether limbs in a knot seemingly inextricable. After 
having laughed at the comical sight, he asked the occasion 
of it, when the bauers cried out that they had gone to sleep 
after their noon meal, and their legs had got entangled, 
and that now none of them knew his own limbs from those 
of his neighbour. 

' I will restore his proper legs to each man,' said the 
Baron jumping off his horse, and with his whip he laid 
about the shoulders of each bauer, who speedily loosed 
himself from the tangle, and skipped out of reach of the 

* And now, for having found you your legs again,' 
said Baron John von Zimmern, ^ I lay. on you the charge 
of a sack of com, paid annually to Wildenstein.' 

After harvest his steward went to Wittershausen with 
a huge sack, which when full of wheat would load a cart. 
The peasants were aghast, but had to pay, as no stipula- 
tion had been made as to the size of the sack. But they 

40 Germany y Present and Past, 

had their revenge. The bauers had a * servitude ' on the 
forest, i.e. a right of cutting down trees for building pur- 
poses, and a right to clear away sufficient wood to make 
a way for the conveyance of the timber to their village. 
They accordingly went into the forest, and selected a tree 
peculiarly tall, at the extreme further end of the forest, 
cut it down, laid it across a cart, and then hacked down 
trees right and left, making a broad avenue cl^n through 
the woodland up to their village. This brought the 
baron to terms. He reduced the size of the sack of com, 
and they propitiated him by making over to him the 

In the Middle Ages the strongest ecclesiastical laws 
were decreed against the taking of rent in money for 
land ; it was regarded as a form of usury, and was for- 
bidden under penalty of excommunication. These laws 
were evaded by the landlords letting their farms for real 
payment, i.e. for frohn {corvee) and payment in nai/a/ralior. 
Even at the beginning of the present century it was very 
common in Germany for the peasants to let bits of ground 
for building purposes or for garden, not for a sum of money, 
or annual rent, but on condition that the tenant should 
give his work for a day or two in the month, and for three 
or four days at harvest time. During the Middle Ages many 
freemen fai'ming their own land found it advisable to sur- 
render their estates to the barons, and receive them back 
again in feof, to seciu'e themselves from molestation by 
powerful neighbours, and to relieve themselves from the 
irksomeness of being personally called to arms. Thus 
nearly all land ceased to be allodial, and was held in feof. 
Payment was almost always made in kind, and this system 
proved vexatious. Instead of the fiarmer paying a half- 
yearly rent, the steward of the land visited the bauer at 
irregular intervals, and carried off a tithe of flax, or hemp, 

The Lower Nobility. 41 

or com, or cattle, as it was needed at the momeDt by the 
lord. The steward was not always just in his estimate 
of the amount to be taken, and he was sometimes oblivious 
of the &ct that he was repeating these requisitions. Caleb 
Balderstone's raid in search of provisions for the guests at 
Bavenswood was what took place frequently in every barony 
of Germany. But if rent in money was not allowed, 
taxes were permitted, and every horse, and calf, and goose, 
indeed every stove, was taxed. An old steward, who can 
remember these payments before they were commuted, 
says that a farm worth, if sold, 200Z., was charged with 
six or ten such payments — the hearth shilling, the smoke- 
tax, the Shrove Tuesday eggs, the Walpurgis tax, Michael- 
mas tax, a pfennig for a goose, nine pfennigs for every 
calf, &c. But, he adds, when all were collected, the total 
amount was only four shillings.^ 

The grievance lay, not in the heaviness of the charges, 
but in their vexatiousifess. What was far more grievous 
than the tithe or tax, was the frohn {corv^e)^ the right of 
the landlord to exact work from the peasant on so many 
days in the week, and to requisition his carts and horses. 
The word * frohn ' is derived from the Old German /rd, a 
lord, and means work done for the lord of the manor. 
^ Handfrohn ' consisted in service on the home farm, an 
estate surrounding the castle or manor-house {meierhof), 
for immediate requirements ; this was cultivated entirely 
by unpaid labourers, working sometimes three days a week, 
in return for a more or less extended farm which they 
enjoyed free of rent in money. The lord had also right 
to employ a bauer's son or servant as a messenger, or to 
call him to assist in beating the woods for a chase. It was 
the ' frohn ' which was the immediate cause of the outbreak 
of the Peasants' War. The Countess of Lupfen had eagerly 

* Dr. Laorenz Fischer : Der Ibutseke AM. Frankf . 1852. 

42 Germany, Present and Past 

embraced the tenets of the Beformation. She thereupon 
suppressed the festivals of the peasants as papistical and 
superstitious, and she ordered her peasants to go on Sun- 
days gathering strawberries for her dinner-table, and snail- 
shells for the making of ornamental pincushions. This 
circumstance, so trifling in appearance, became the occa- 
sion of a general conflagration. Hitherto no ^ frohn ' had 
been exacted on a festival ; on Sunday the bauer had been 
a freeman. The snail-shells were the limit of his obedience. 
On the day of strawberries and snail-shells the peasants of 
Stiihlingen, Bondorf, and Ewatingen assembled to the 
number of six hundred, and announced to the count and 
countess that they were freemen, and would pay no more 
frohn and tax. This was on August 24, 1524. In a 
fortnight the six hundred had swelled to four thousand. 
Before the end of the year nearly every castle in the 
Schwarzwald was in flames. 

In the towns, as in the country, the classes were 
originally divided into patricians, freemen, and not-free- 
men. The patricians were the nobility or gentry of the 
towns, owners of land in and outside of the walls, those who 
lived not necessarily on trade, but on their estates, and 
who formed the governing body of the town. They were 
originally all of gentle blood ; but in time the masters of 
the trades succeeded in working their way into the council, 
and then bought their gentility of the Emperor. Thus it 
came about that many patrician families were also en- 
gaged in trade. Fugger, the weaver of Augsburg, though 
raised by Charles V. to be a count, did not think it 
necessary to abandon his looms. When asked to choose his 
arms, he humbly elected lilies, for ^ they toil not, neither 
do they spin,' and he hoped they would ever remind his 
descendants of the humble origin of the house. Both of 
Ulm was a sugar-refiner, with factories in Italy and Spain. 

The Lower Nobility. 43 

The Croarias and Holbeins of Ravensburg in the four- 
teenth century had paper-mills. An ox's head is the 
water-mark by which paper can be recognised that issued 
from the factory of the Holbeins. The Welsers of Augs- 
burg were great merchants ; they bought Venezuela, and 
Charles V. gave them a patent to allow them to continue 
their business without derogation to their gentility. The 
Ayrers of Heilbronn were dealers in saffron, the Weichsers of 
Schaffhausen, who fought as knights at Sempach, were 
money-changers. The Behm family of Augsburg were 

But. perhaps the most curious instance of the mediaeval 
view of trade not being dishonouring to a noble is seen in 
the history of Ludwig the Saint, Landgrave of Thuringia, 
who entered into a partnership with a pedlar, and was 
able to clothe his court with his annual profits. When 
the chapman's ass was stolen by some of the vassals of the 
Bishop of Wiirzburg, he made war upon the bishop, and 
harried his land till the pedlar's ass was restored. From 
the fifteenth century, however, the landed nobility began 
to look down on the patricians, as a pack of grocers 
and weavers who had no right to be reckoned as of gentle 
birth ; and they refused to admit them to tournaments. 
In Augsburg and Basel, in 1474, the chapters of the cathe- 
drals, filled with younger sons of noble families living on 
their country estates, by statute excluded a citizen firom 
ever enjoying a prebendal stall in their highly aristocratic 
bodies. In former times members of patrician families 
had been G-rand Masters of the Knightly Orders ; now 
they were excluded.' 

For a long time the patricians monopolised the 
government of the towns ; but the trade-guilds formed 

' The first Grand Master of the German Order was a Waldbot, the 
second a Carpen, both citizens (patricians) of Bremen. 

44 Germany, Present and Past, 

a powerful organisation against them, and forced their 
way into the Bath. A curious instance may be given 
from the history of Strassburg. There two rival families, 
the Zorns and the Miilnheimers, were the most powerful 
in the city, and were mutually jealous. In 1321 Glaus 
Zom complained in the town-council that the Bathhaus 
was much nearer the tavern frequented by the Miiln- 
heimers than that where the Zorns dran]^ their beer. The 
consequence was, that when a motion was put to the vote, 
the whipper-in of the Miilnheimers could call up his party, 
and carry it or throw it out, before the Zorns arrived on 
the spot ; therefore Glaus proposed that a new town-hall 
' should be built exactly halfway between the rival taverns, 
and his proposal was actually carried and acted upon. 

The quarrel between the two families burst out in full 
explosion in 1332. There was a garden outside the walls 
of Strassburg where the gentlefolks met to eat sausages, 
drink lager beer, and dance or fight. In the year men- 
tioned, eating, drinking, and dancing one hot day led to a 
grand battle, in which two of the Miilnheim faction were 
killed, and seven of that of the Zorns. The Landvogt 
arrived on the scene, and endeavoured to put an end to 
the strife, but failed. Numerous nobles of the neighbour- 
hood flocked in, and threw themselves into the ra&Ue. 
The fight waxed more fiurious, and the chief magistrates 
were powerless to arrest it. Then the guilds met, entered 
the Eathhaus, took the banner, keys, and seal of the city, 
by acclamation altered the constitution of the council, 
which had before been filled exclusively by members of 
the ecclesiastical corporation and twenty-four patricians, 
and then, with an armed band of apprentices, put down 
the riot. They went further, and demolished the drinking- 
places of the rival factions, and laid waste the pleasure- 
gardens where they had danced and quarrelled. The 

The Lower Nobility. 45 

town-council was variously constituted after that, according 
as the guilds or the patricians got the upper hand ; but 
on the occasion mentioned the former first succeeded in 
entering and breaking up the close corporation of the 

In the fourteenth century the Emperors began to 
create nobles by patents, for the same consideration that 
made James I. create baronets. 

Dat census honores, 
Census amicitias ; pauper nbique jacet. 

The Emperor Wenceslas the Fool ennobled all kind of 
rabble. Sigismund sold titles. Under his successor 
Ferdinand a chimney-sweep was created a baron. It was 
the age of the Briefadel. Patrician families like those of 
Ebner, Kress, Haller, Behaim, Holzschuher, Roth, &c., 
some by patent, some without, adopted the predicate 
' von,' under the impression that this particle betokened 
gentility; and they blossomed into Ebner von Eschen- 
bach, Kress von Kressenstein, Haller von Hallerstein, 
Behaim von Schwarzbach, Holzschuher von Aspach, Roth 
von Schreckenstein, after estates they had inherited or 
purchased. Others prefixed the ' von ' to their family 
names, whether appropriately or not, as * von Weber,' * von 
Denzlinger,' which are as absurd as • of Weaver ' and * of 
Londoner.' Many bought or were granted baronial titles, 
and assumed the pearl coronet of a Freiherr, who had 
never actually held a freehold. Members of trade- guilds 
who had found their way into the council of their town 
received patents of gentility ; they might put a • von ' 
before their names, and adopt a coronet of three straw- 
berry-leaves and two pearls. 

The grant of arms and the prefix of * von ' in Germany 
was and is precisely like the grant of arms made in England 

46 Germany, Present and Past 

by the College of Heralds, which is also costly. But ia 
England now any one adopts arms, and tails his name 
with esquire, whether he have a right or not to these dis- 
tinctions. In Germany a man can scarcely paint a coat on 
his carriage and put a ' von ' before his name, unless he 
has an hereditary or acquired right to both. The ordinary 
gentleman, untitled, uses a coronet — by what right is 
perhaps more easily asked than answered — which is the 
same as that we attribute to a marquis, i.6. three straw- 
berry-leaves and two pearls. The coronet of a Margraf in 
Grermany has three strawberry-leaves and six pearls. The 
princes alone can raise a biirger out of his class and make 
a gentleman of him. They very often confer gentility for 
life, so that the person ennobled bears the ' von ' before 
his name, but his sons do not. A biirger blossoms into 
Herr von Sauerkraut, but his sons fall back into Sauer- 
kraut and biirgerthum again.' 

The old Freiherren were the ancient landed gentry — 
in Swabia and Franconia obtaining independence over 
their estates, like little princes. In 1791 the Margravat« 
of Anspach-Baireuth fell to Prussia through the surrender 
of the last Margrave, Karl Friedrich, who married Lady 
Craven, after she had lived with him as his mistress for 
somp years. The two principalities were given a new 
constitution, and the liberties of the free knights in 
them were curtailed. Three independent barons were 
obliged to surrender their sovereignty over their little 
domains. The only opposition encountered was in the 
cantons of Altmiihl and Gebirg. Portions of Franconia 
and Swabia fell to Bavaria, portions swarming with these 
* immediate ' families. Their independence was summarily 

> Sometimes, if they maintain their father's position, they are 
allowed in courtesy to retain the * von ; ' but they have no legal right 
to it. 

The Lower Nobility. 47 

abolished. Those in the Rhenish provinces were extin-^ 
guished by Napoleon in 1805. 

Since the surrender of the Imperial crown by Francis 
II. there have been no fresh creations of Freiherren. 
Publishers, as Tauchnitz, chemists, as Liebig, tailors, as 
Stulz, have been made barons ; but a modem baron is not 
the equivalent of an ancient Freiherr. A baron created by 
a Grand-Duke since the dissolution of the Empire, has a 
right to bear a seven-pearled coronet, but the new-baked 
noble cannot take his place in the close aristocratic society 
of the town he inhabits. The baron hovers in gauclie dis- 
comfort between the biirger and the adel ; he is the bat of 
society, neither altogether bird nor beast, and not an 
inviting specimen of either. In the theatre he takes a 
loge in the first circle, instead of in the biirger range of 
boxes, but he sits there uneasily ; he has lost his old com - 
panions, and his new give him the cold shoulder. Princes, 
like the Almighty, love to create out of nothing; but 
their creations, unlike His, are not always ' very good.' 
The German baron newly made stands on the same level 
as the English knight. He is perhaps a gentleman by 
birth, he is more probably a successful grocer or corn- 

During the Middle Ages the landed gentry had been 
a check upon the princes. The latter could only exercise 
their sovereignty with consent of the chambers in their 
provinces in the matter of raising taxes and imposing 
laws. After the Thirty Years' war, when the French 
fever set in over Germany, the princes sought not merely 
to copy French fashions, but also French despotism. The 
extravagance of their courts made it necessary for them to 

' I know an old patxician family which has been made baronial by 
a petty sovereign. It is ashamed to bear its title and coronet, and 
proudly maintains its simple < von.* 

48 * Germany y Present and Past. 

impose huge burdens on their lands, and such imposition 
the landed Freihen-en opposed. The princes, therefore, 
set deliberately to work to extirpate them. This they 
effected by degrees, by involving them in extravagances, 
making them attend their courts and there dissipate their 
fortune, and then buying their land. In Oldenburg, 
at the beginning of the eighteenth centiurjr, there were 
j&fty-three noble estates, held by old families of gentle 
blood, the Westerholz and Mundel, Mausingen and 
Fichenhold, Knigge, Rhaden, Steding, and others. Nearly 
all of these have died out or lost their estates. Two that 
survive, the Wehlaus and Westerloys, have so sunk in the 
world that they are now represented by farmers, and have 
abandoned their claim to be regarded as gentry. In 
Anhalt Dessau, Prince Leopold, who married the apothe- 
cary's daughter, bought up all the estates in his land, and 
those of the nobility who demurred to sell he drove out of 
the principality, and took their estates from them at a 
price he fixed. Thus he got rid of the Barons von Grote, 
the Harslebens, Schillings, Krosigks, and many others. 
The Prince of Bemburg did the same. He took their 
lands from the von Greudems, Erlachs, and Einsiedenlers, 
&c. The same policy was pursued by the Prince of 
Kothen. He also was not satisfied till he reigned alone 
over bauers, with a nobility hanging about his court, and 
dependent on his bounty as his chief foresters, marshals, 
chamberlains, &c. 

In Schiller's letters we get a picture of the old landed 
gentry as they were, and as they were being made. On 
December 8, 1787, he wrote from Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt: 
^ I have met in this neighbourhood with some interesting 
families. For instance, in the village of Hochheim is a 
noble family, consisting of five young ladies — in all, ten 
persons — ^living in the old patriarchal way, or reviving old 

^ The Lower Nobility. 4.9 

knightly maimers. No one in the fstmily wears anything 
which is not of home manufacture. Shoes, cloth, silk, all 
the furniture, all the necessaries of life, and almost all its 
luxuries, are grown or manu&ctured on the property, 
many by the hands of the ladies, as in patriarchal days 
and in the times of chivalry. The greatest exterior 
cleanliness and order, and even display and beauty, please 
the eye ; of the ladies, some are young, and all are simple 
and true, like the nature in which they live.^ The father 
is a sturdy, honourable, landed noble, a famous sportsman, 
and a generous host, and, I must add, an inveterate 
smoker. Two hours distant, in a village, I have met 
with a house the reverse of this. There lives the Cham- 
berlain von S ,* with his wife and nine children, on an 

extravagant princely footing. In place of a house they 
have a castle, in place of society they hold a court, instead 
of plain dinner a dress dinner in French fashion. The 
wife is a vaporous, false, intriguing creature, and hideous 
an falsehood, but all in the best Parisian Urn,. The young 
lady is very pretty, but the devil rules the mother, and 
would not let her permit the young girl to travel with us. 

Herr von S is a dignified man of many good and 

shining qualities, full of entertainment and propriety, but 
a libertine to the highest degree. He is Charlotte's' 
uncle, and he values her highly.' 

The European war was felt severely by the lesser 
German nobility. Their estates had been burdened by 
extravagant living, and they were ill-prepared for a season 
of invasion and its consequent evils. On the Bhine, in 
Hesse, in Baden, in the Palatinate, the Code Napoleon 

> Herr von Stein in Yolkershaiuen. Fran v. Stein was the aunt of 
Charlotte ron Ealb. 

* Charlotte von Ealb, who set her cap at Schiller, and ten years 
later at Jean Paul Richter. 

VOL. I. B 

50 Germany, Present and Past, 

_^ — » 

was introduced, and subdivision of property was made 
compulsory. In Prussia, before this, Frederick William 
had done his utmost to break up the properties and 
destroy the privileges of the aristocracy, and for much the 
same reasons as other princes, because they interfered with 
despotic government. 

But it was not only where the Code Napoleon was 
introduced, that lands were divided and subdivided till the 
owners sank from being nobles to bauers. Such a sub- 
division had been universal in Grermany ; fought against, 
indeed, in Westphalia and Saxony, but prevailing freely 
elsewhere. Great houses had melted into a hundred 
little farms. But in the seventeenth century it was fully 
seen that this equal cutting-up of land was ruinous ; and 
everywhere the gentry were adopting primogeniture or 
some other system by which properties might be held 
together. But it was too late. The introduction of the 
Code Napoleon sealed the &te of the gentry on the Shine. 
Elsewhere they were ruined by the events of 1848. 

The revolution in that year produced an electrical 
effect in Germany. On February 27, at a gathering at 
Mannheim, four demands were made — ^freedom of the press, 
trial by jury, national representation, and general con- 
scription. A mass deputation carried these demands on 
March 1 before the Baden Chamber. A few days later 
the abolition of the privileges of the aristocracy, and of 
the remains of feudal obligations, of copyholds and ground- 
rents, was demanded. Speedily the whole of Germany 
was in commotion ; the bauers joined the revolution 
started by town republican clubs, with the double object 
of getting rid of ground-rents and of expelling the Jews 
from the country. In the National Assembly at Frankfurt 
a violent attack on the nobility was led by Mohl, Rosier, 
and Jacob Chimm ; and ' the nobility as an order was 

The Lower Nobility. 51 

abolished ' by a majority of fourteen. But whilst the 
National Assembly was discussing the rights of man, 
natural equality, and the bases of authority, the princes, 
who had cowered before the storm, put their heads together 
and organised opposition. When the deputation of the 
Assembly came to Cologne to meet the King of Prussia, 
and lay before him its resolutions, Frederick William 
curtly told them not to leave out of their calculations the 
&ct that there were princes in Grermany, and that he was 
one of them. A volley dispersed the rioters in Berlin ; 
the bauers grew suspicious of the town rabble, and sided 
with the sovereign. The revolution came to an end ; but 
it had left its victims, especially in the south. The 
Grand Dukes, in the agony of their alarm, had flung the 
gentry to the wolves, and many were reduced to poverty 
by the loss of their property in land. All rights of * frohn ' 
were absolutely abolished, without compensation to the 
lord of the manor ; and the State took measures to con- 
vert the copyhold land of the bauer into a freehold estate, 
by making its allodification compulsory should the tenant 
be able and willing to commute. In Austria all charges 
on land were abolished by a stroke of the pen on Sep- 
tember 2, 1848. In Bavaria the work of allodification 
was begun by a law passed June 4, 1848 ; in Wiirtem- 
berg on April 14, 1848 ; in Baden on April 10 and July 
31, 1848. In Kurhessen all feofs, and ground-rents, and 
charges on land, together with other manorial rights, were 
abolished on August 26, 1848, the landlords receiving as 
indemnity from 3 to 5 per cent, of the value of their 
estates. This was done in Waldeck, in Sigmaringen, in 
Saxe-Weimar, and elsewhere. In almost every case all 
personal services were done away with without compensa- 
tion. To assist the peasants in converting their farms 
into freeholds, the Saxon Government established a 

B 2 

52 Germany y Present and Past. 

fund for the redemption of the land, under Government 
guarantee. In 1850 a similar bank was established in 
Prussia. Baden and Hesse followed. The law for the 
establishment of ' rent banks ' provided the machinery for 
the wholesale redemption of the land. By it the State 
constituted itself the broker between the peasants by 
whom the rent was paid and the landlords who had to 
receive it. The bank established in each district 
advanced to the latter in rent-debentures, paying 4 per 
cent, interest, a capital sum equal to twenty years' pur- 
chase. The peasant paid into the bank each month a 
twelfth part of a rent calculated at 5 or 4^ per cent, on 
this capital sum, according as he elected to free his 
property from incumbrance in forty-one or fifty-six years, 
the respective terms within which, at compound interest, 
the I or 1^ per cent., paid in addition to the 4 per cent, 
interest on the debenture, would extinguish the capital. 
As the greatest part of the estates of the gentry had 

been let, there remained to them now only the home £Eu*m 
and the sum in money they received from the State for 
their lands which had been let and leased. This money 
came to them conveniently, at a time when they were for 
the most part in debt, not having recovered the exhaustive 
effects produced by the European war. The capital dis- 
appeared, and their sons are left with a little patch of 
land about the ancestral castle, and no funds on which to 
keep up the stately mansion. The result of the allodifica- 
tion has therefore been to sever the gentry from the soil. 
They cannot live all the year round in the country; they 
go for a few weeks in the summer to the schloss, carrying 
with them sufficient furniture, and there they picnic for 
a while. They have lost their interest in the peasants, and 
the peasants in them. They seek situations under Grovem- 
ment as judges, or make the army their profession, and 

The Lower Nobility, 53 

live in offices on their salaries rather than starve in 
their ancestral halls. The Englishman living in Germany 
should remember this : the burger in office everywhere 
and at all times bears the title of his office. Herr Gerber, 
when a judge, even in dSshabiUej is Herr Obergerichtsrath ; 
bat Herr von Stolzenfels drops the civil designation when 
he closes the door of the office ; he is then von Stolzenfels 
only, and it is an insidt to entitle him Oerichtsrath. In 
the south of Germany, where the free imperial knights 
were most numerous and most independent, their de- 
scendants are most impoverished and most dependent on 
State employ. In the north of Germany the Freiherren 
are still landed gentry, but they have not clung to old 
acres with the same tenacity as the nobles and squires of 
England — ^probably they have not been able to do so. In 
1861 there were in all Prussia 12,543 knightly estates — 
that is, estates belonging to gentle families — but of these 
only 394 had been in a family pver a hundred years. In 
1858, in the Prussian House of Lords, there were only 
77 landed proprietors holding old family estates, the 
remaining 89 were life peers. 

The Bavarian Constitution requires for the position of 
a heritable ^ Keichsrath ' an entailed landed estate paying 
at least ZOL per annum in tax. The Wiirtemberg Con- 
stitution requires that the landed proprietor shall have a 
net income from his estate of 300/. These landed gentry 
elect a certain number of members to the Upper House as 
their representatives. 

In North Germany the landed gentry suffered by the 
allodification of their farms, but not to the same extent 
as those in the south ; the process was less rapid, and more 
moderate. In the north the nobles are not unfrequently 
manufacturers ; dye-works, spinning-mills, distilleries, rise 
within a few yards of the castle. The reaction after 1848 

54 Germany y Present and Past. 

helped the Prussian nobility to obtain some new privileges. 
In the autumn of that year an union of nobles and gentry 
met, calling itself the 'Society for the Protection of 
Property,' roughly designated by the people as the 
* Junkerparlament.' Under the T^me of Manteuffel, the 
Junkerthum obtained great influence at court, and in the 
Upper House opposed all Liberal measures. It was the 
same in other G-erman States. The House of Lords was 
established in Prussia, and the small nobility — the true seat 
of antiquated conservatism — obtained in it a preponderat- 
ing influence over the greater nobility. It is characteristic 
that in all the unpopular proceedings of the Upper House, 
the smaller nobility have led the opposition to the Bills 
that passed the Lower House, whereas the great nobles 
voted on the Liberal side. Since the restoration of the 
German Empire, the nobility and gentry have thrown 
themselves actively into political life. In 1874, as many 
as 127 nobles, i.6, just 32 per cent of the whole number 
of members, were elected to the Imperial Parliament. Of 
these 19 belonged to the Conservative party, 23 to the 
Independent Conservative, 26 to the National Liberal, 4 
to the Fortschritt party, 38 to the Centre, 13 were Poles, 
and 4 Radicals. Consequently 72 were National and true 
to the Imperial Constitution, and 51 were hostile to the 
Imperial policy. Thirty were Liberals, Le. a quarter, or if 
we reckoD in the Liberal Conservatives, 53, or about half. 
In the Prussian Parliament, Sch werin, Auerswald, Briinneck, 
Saucken, Vincke, are noble names long known there as reso- 
lute combatants for Liberal ideas. In Bavaria, somewhat 
earlier, the names of Giech, Sotenhahn, and Lerchenfeld 
were as well known, and more recently that of Hohenlohe. 
In Bavaria the noble families are allowed by law to 
found fresh majorats, Le. fresh £Etmilies with entailed 
estates, carrying with them titles and coronets and repre- 

The Lower Nobility. 55 

sentation in the first chamber. If an aristocracy is to be 
preserved, this seems the most reasonable manner of letting 
it develop itself. 

If the citizen and the peasant represent man alive to 
the consciousness that he is a member of a family, the 
noble represents man awake to the fact of the continuity 
of fsimily life. The aristocracy is the class invested with 
historic consciousness. The citizen and bauer do not care 
a sjbraw who were their grandfathers, and have no thought 
for their grandchildren. A member of an aristocratic 
class is full of interest respecting the past of his family, 
and plants trees, and builds, not for himself, but for a 
future generation. 

In the German courts the nobility not mediatised were 
treated with sovereign contempt. Frederic, the fat King 
of Wiirtemberg, the smallest of kings and the greatest of 
snobs, did his utmost to drive the few that lingered on in 
Swabia out of his realm by making residence in it into- 
lerable. He published a decree that no nobleman of his 
newly manufactmred kingdom should be allowed to leave 
his district for more than a week at a time without leave 
of the ^ blirger ^ functionaries of the parisL In 1810 the 
Minister of the Interior, by gracious consent of his 
Majesty, issued the following licence to a count : — * The 
Herr Graf is required by his Majesty to spend at least 
three months in every year at the royal residential city of 
Stuttgart. With respect to the remaining nine months, 
should the count desire to reside on his own estates, his 
Majesty accords his most gracious permission to him to do 
so. His Majesty begs further to express his gracious hope 
that his sovereign orders will meet with punctual atten- 
tion. Should this hope be disappointed, one quarter of 
the territorial receipts of the Herr Graf will be confis- 
cated to the royal treasury.' 

56 Germany^ Present and Past. 

There is something not a little insulting in the way 
in which the old landed gentry — counts and barons of as 
good, if not better blood than their sovereigns — are treated 
when they visit court. Their aristocratic rank is ignored ; 
military rank alone is recognised. Bank throughout 
Germany is military, but certain civil o£5ce8 are reckoned 
as military offices. Thus a judge ranks as a major-general, 
and a lord-in-waiting as a colonel. The princes of the 
royal or grand-ducal &mily, and the mediatised princes in 
their territory, are above rank. The following is the order 
of precedence in a minor Grerman court: — 

1 %t dasa. ' ExcMencieaJ' * 

Generals in command of a division. 

Generals in command of an army corps. 

A minister-president of the House of Assembly (Stan- 

dever<3ammlung ). 
An ambassador. 
A privy councillor of the Ist class.' 

2nd doss. ^ Metre Rang.^ 


Geheimrath of the 2nd class. 

Chief judge (President des G^richtshofes). 

> Once an 'excellency/ always an excellency; a general who has 
commanded an army corps, a president, kc, to the end of his days 
remains an * excellency,' and takes precedence, though out of office, of 
one in office. They rank by order of service. 

' A Geheimrath was originally a member of the privy comicil of the 
sovereign. Now that constitutional government has become general, 
there is no privy council. But those whom the sovereign delights to 
honour can be created Geheimrathe. The members of all government 
boards are Geheimrftthe of the second class. No duties attach to the 
title of Geheimrath of the first class. 

The Lower Nobility. 57 

First chamberlain. 

State councillor (Staatsrath). 


Prelate (Catholic or Protestant). 

Zrd doss. ^ Chamberlains.^ 



Privy councillor of legation (Greheime Legationsrath). 

Privy councillor of war (Geheime Kriegsrath). 

Assessor to a judge. 

Appendix to Zrd daas. 
The landed gentry of whatever aristocratic title. 

itk class, * LieuteTiant-Colonel Rank,* 

Geheime Hofrath. 
Geheime Finanzrath. 
Geheime Begierungsrath. 
LandescommiBsar. ^ 

5ih class, * Page^n-Waiting Rank,* 

Head forester. 
Canon of a cathedral. 

' I leave many of these titles nntrazislated, because it is impossible 
to render them into prop>er English equivalents. Many of them are 
purely honorary titles— such are Hofrath, Finanzrath, Regiernngsrath. 

58 Germany^ Present and Past. 

In the first two classes the wives are 'hofPahig,' 
presentable at oourt; in the third class, presentable 
only if of gentle biith ; in the fourth, not presentable 
at alL 

Consequently a countess or baroness comes in at the 
Terr end of the tail of presentable ladies. This arrange- 
ment sometimes leads to awkwardnesses. In a certain 
German court a brother of the soTeieign is married to a 
baroness bel<Miging to a fimuly quite as ancient, noble, 
and illustrious as that which by fiiYour of Napoleon I. sits 
now on the throne. The fiunily was, however, never 
^ immediate*' The marriage therefore was not ' of equal 
birth/ and the sister-in-law of the sovereign could not 
appear at court as a princess. At the same time there 
was a clever civilian, whom we will call Herr Pumper- 
nickel, who for his abilities was elevated by the sovereign 
into a privy councillor of the 1st class, and was made a 
gentleman of for life by the grant of a ^von.' His 
Excellency Herr Geheimrath von Pumpernickel took 
rank in the first class. Herr von Pumpernickel married a 
pretty young actre:ss, and introduced her at court, and the 
Frau Geheimratbin took rank in the first class with him. 
But the sovereign's sister-in4aw, being only a baroness, 
came in as a landed proprietress in the appendix to the 
third class, a ^-eiy long way behind the little actress, who 
was quite at home and happy in her place, and uncon- 
scious of the confusion ^e caused iu divers distinguished 
breasts. There was no possibility of redressing the in- 
convenience* The only way for the baroness to climb to 
the rank of exct^lencies above the head of the Greheim- 
rSthiu would be by marrying a general officer, but that was 
impo8HihUs as she was married to the sovereign's brother. 
The coiK^Hiuouoe was that she withdrew altogether from 

The Lower Nobility. 59 

The head of a princely family alone is called Furst, 
the other brothers and sons are Prinzen. So also only the 
reigning duke is a Herzog, the other brothers are Grafen. 
But the children of a count are counts and countesses, 
and of a baron are barons and baronesses.^ Every writer 
on the Grerman nobility has urged the abandonment of 
this senseless adhesion to titles by the junior branches of 
noble families. It has a mischievous effect. In England, 
where only the eldest son inherits the title of his father, 
the other members of the family melt into the general 
mass of the English gentry, and in another generation are 
alt(^ther one with it. In Grermany the retention of 
title by every one who derives from a noble family makes 
of the aristocracy a caste which associates only with its 
own members, and is absolutely cut off from the class 
below. I knew a case of a baron, so poor that he was 
glad to act as gardener and not above accepting a cigar, 
living in a poor cottage. But his associates, and the 
associates of the baroness his wife, were noble. They were 
received into the first circle, but never set foot within 
the door of the biirger. This caste severance is the more 
mischievous, because courtesy of manner and gentlemanli- 
ness of feeling are both a tradition of the aristocracy. 
It is because the burger has not associated with a 
polished class, but been left to stew in his own fat, 
that he has never been able to emancipate himself from 
mediaeval boorishness. The incessant circulation of social 
currents in England keeps the whole body sweet. 

In Germany the classes are superposed as geologic 
strata. Carrara marble lies on millstone grit. Porphyry 
pierces beds of pudding-stone without transforming it. 

* In Northern Germany, when by family law the chief part of the 
estate goes to the eldest son, only the eldest son of a count assumes 
the title of Graf| the other sons are barons. 

6o Germany, Present and Past, 

It is a great misfortune to the country that the gentry 
are dissociated from the land. The bauers are left with- 
out a civilising and softening element in their midst. 
Just before the French Bevolution the landed gentry had 
everywhere built themselves houses in the very midst of 
the people, not cut off from them by parks as in England, 
but with the windows looking into the very village street. 
There was evidently a desire among them to live on a 
kindly footing with the peasants. These houses are now 
deserted, or tenanted only for a couple of months in the 
summer. Of the ways of the peasants, of their domestic 
-sorrows and sufferings, the family at the schloss know 
nothing and care nothing. For the schloss and village 
are not the home, only the hotel for the ^ sommerfirische.' 
Of the friendly, affectionate intercourse between the 
poor in a parish and the Equality' at the Hall — so 
common, so pathetic, that exists everywhere in England 
where there is a resident squirearchy— Germany knows 

We lament^ in England, the cleavage between the 
classes, but it is nothing to that which exists in Germany. 
A separation of classes is mischievous in every way, 
for every class can and ought to learn &om the other. 
In America, where there are no classes, the result 
is that every man and woman lives for, and thinks 
of, self only. There is isolation of interests and disre- 
gard of others. In Germany the severance of classes 
produces a similar result; but in Germany it leads not 
to self-glorification but to class glorification. The 
bauer thinks himself everything, and hates the citizen. 
The citizen despises the bauer and the noble, and the 
nobles live in their narrow exclusive circle, in which 
they waste their energies in sighing over an irrecoverable 

The Lower Nobility. 6i 

The German lesser nobility — that is, the gentry — are 
no longer a power in the realm. Here and there in every 
town they are to be found scattered about in the Grovem- 
ment offices, or turning their castles into distilleries of 
turnip-brandy or potato-schnaps, but still associating and 
marrying only within their sacred circle. In no country 
have the gentry been so utterly crushed out as in Ger- 
many, not even in France. They have had since the 
fifteenth century two deadly foes working their destruc- 
tion — the princes, who were jealous of them, and their 
own improvidence, in subdivision of their estates among 
their sons. The princes have trampled them down and 
insulted them, that they might be left alone on the earth 
to deal with the ignorant peasantry. In 1848 they felt 
what it was to be without a class to stand between them 
and the rabble. Nowhere did the bauer revolution rage 
more savagely than in Anhalt, where the landed gentry 
had been exterminated to a man. In that storm the 
knight Christian von Truchsess raised his voice ; ^ We do 
not wish to be what we were, certainly not to be tax-free ; 
but to be dishonoured and placed beneath the bauer, that 
we ought not to be, and that, by Ood's help, we will not 
be.' And everywhere they are holding their own — in the 
literary, the scientific, and the political worlds but 
especially in the army, their ancient field of advance and 

But also there, and there only, does the law of ^ eben- 
biirtigkeit ' survive as a mischievous tradition of the past 
affecting the lower nobility. In the army the body of 
officers forms a close corporation. They elect into it. In 
the cavalry, no citizen stands a chance of election. 
Cavalry officers are all men of blue blood. An officer 
cannot marry * unebenbiirtig.' If he do, he is forced by 
his comrades to resign his commission. I know a ciuious 

62 Germany, Present and Past. 

instance. A naval officer, a count of high standing and 
considerable ability and prospects in his profession, 
married an actress at Eael, a person of unblemished cha- 
racter and of respectable citizen birth* The count was 
forced to leave the navy. 

I can hardly dismiss the subject of the nobility 
without a word on German heraldry. This has its 
peculiar characteristics. The coats are perhaps less re- 
markable than the crests. A vast number of these are 
horns or wings. Wings are extremely rare on English 
crests. A single wing occurs on a wreath, but not, I 
believe, the spread double wings common on Grerman 
helmets, attached to the sides of the casque, with a cog- 
nisance between them. The double horns occur on no 
English crests. A single horn is indeed found, on the 
wreath, but not the two horns growing out of the helmet 
as they grew out of the head of the ox. The Baring 
family bears both wings and horns. The Hanoverian 
patrician and baronial family of this name has the horns, 
with a demibear holding a ring in its mouth between them, 
as on the shield ; but the branch which came to England 
in the reign of George I., and which is now represented 
by Lord Northbrook and Lord Ashburton, bears the spread 
wings with a star between. Another peculiar German 
crest is a peacock's tail, a gorgeous cognisance when rising 
out of a coronet. It is borne by the von Bameckow, von 
Berg, Ladsota, Maltzan, von Stolberg, Thum und Taxis, 
von Used, and many other families. 

The von Hund family have a peculiarly lovely crest, a 
spreading bunch of nine crimson wild pinks, borne by the 
house ever since an ancestress bore nine sons. 

In place of two horns the von Pflugk bear two plough- 
shares ; the von Romer two pilgrims' staves ; the von 
Biinau two feather-brushes; the von Liittichau two 

The Lower Nobility. 63 

sickles ; the von Bulau both horns and wings ; the von 
Tschammer one stag's horn and one ox-horn. The von 
Schwarzenbergs and many others bear the horns stuck 
over with feathers, the von Eberstein hung with rings, 
the von Altenstein transfixed with arrows. 

Another peculiarity of Grerman crests is a cone with a 
human head at the top. Such a crest is borne by the 
Bappoltstein, the von Leuchtenberg, the Kranz von 
Oeispoltsheim, the von Henneberg, the von Wedell, and 
many others. In early heraldic representations these are 
mere cones, clothed, like nightcaps, the knob at the top 
having a human face ; in later times the cone assumed 
the shape of a man or woman, almost always without 

The story told of the von Wedeils is, that their ances- 
tor was a miller. A princess of Brandenburg visited the 
miU, and peering too curiously into the machinery, her 
dress was caught, and she was being drawn into it, when 
the miller with great presence of mind thrust his hands 
in to anest the wheels, and wrench her dress away. He 
succeeded in extricating her, but at the cost of both his 
hands, which were crushed. In reward for his devotion, 
he was ennobled, and ever after the family has borne a 
miller without arms on the helmet, and a cog-wheel on 
the shield. 

The origin of these curious cognisances is simple 
enough. On examining heraldic representations of the 
thirteenth century, it is clear that what is called the 
mantling of a shield was originally the *puggary' of 
knighthood. In Germany, France, and Italy, it was im- 
possible for men to bear the burning sun on their helmets 
without a screen. They threw mantles over their casques 
to keep them cool. The difficulty was, to secure these 
puggaries. Counts and barons put coronets round their 

64 Germany, Present and Past. 

helmets, and the ring held the veil in place. Ordinary 
knights screwed their bugles on to their helmets,^ and cut 
holes in the veil, which was slipped over the horns. Or 
they set a metal cone on top of the helmet, which seized 
as drinking cup ; and the veil was provided with a cap 
fitting over this, and so was kept in place. 

The wings served the same purpose as the horns; they 
folded up as a fan when the veil was put over them, and were 
then expanded to keep it secure. In old representations, 
the metal piece which contained the hinges is often shown* 
The ^ caps of maintenance,' the tower, and wreath, served 
the same purpose.' 

Some curious, some pretty, stories are attached to, 
and account for, the armorial bearings of certain noble 

The House of Saxony bears as its coat five black bars 
on a red field,' and across these a green floreated scarp. 
The origin of this is as follows : — ^Duke Bemhivf d I., son of 
Albert the Bear, on his way home from a pilgrimage to 
the Holy Land, stayed in Venice ; he had spent his money, 
and was forced to lodge with a tradesman till he received , 
remittances. He there contracted an attachment for the ' 
daughter. When he left, she gave him a wreath of green 
rushes and clover, and this he hung across his shield, and 
bore ever after, when enfeoffed by Frederic I. with the 
duchy of Saxony, as his special cognisance, out of re- 
membrance of the fair Venetian girl. 

The von Stubenbergs bear a ring and a golden lock. of 
woman's hair on their arms and crest. In thef Middle '•^ 
Ages a count of Achsberg married a damsel who had been 

> One drinking-horn, the other for blowing. 

« For examples of gradual transformation of the 'puggary,' and of ^ 

German aims, see Hildebrandt's Beraldifoh^ Mtuterhueh, Berlin, 1872. / 

* Not, as is often incorrectly given, five black and five gold bars. 

The Lower Nobility. 65 

. > 

betrothed to the Junker Wiilfing of Stubenberg, then 
absent on crusade. When von Stubenberg returned, he 
found his mistress the wife of another. He sought her 
out, and bitterly reproached her with &lsehood. With 
tears she assured him she had been forced by her father 
to marry the count, and with a kiss she gave him 
back his betrothal ring and troth. At that moment 
the Count of Achsberg entered, and furiously charged 
his wife with infidelity. He seized her by the hair, with 
his dagger cut off her long tresses, and flung them in 
the face of von Stubenberg, who at once challenged the 
count to single combat. The Crusader appeared in the 
lists with the ring and golden tresses of the countess on 
his crest, killed the count, and secured the hand of his 

About six miles above Heidelberg is the little town of 
Steinach, at the foot of grey rocks, and on the surroimding 
heights are to be seen the ruins of four old castles that 
belonged to the family of Landschaden von Steinach. In 
the oldest, called 'Shadeck, lived Bligger von Steinach, a 
robber knight, who, from the injury he did the neighbour- 
hood, was called ' Landschaden.' 

Bligger was put imder the bann of the Empire, and 
was foimd 6ne morning murdered in the courtyard of his 
castle. His son, Ulrich Landschaden von Steinach, 
thought it advisable to keep out of the country for awhile, 
so he went with the crusaders to Palestine. There, dis- 
guised as a harper, he found admission to the enemy's camp, 
and he obtained the favour of the Sultan. One night he 
murdered him in sleep, cut off his head, and escaped with 
it to the Christian camp. As a reward for this act of 
treachery, the Emperor knighted him, and gave him the 
Saltan's head for his crest, and the harp for his arms. He 
died in 1369. His mopument is in the church of Neckar- 

VOL. I. p 

66 Germany y Present and Past. 

Steinach, and represents him with his harp on one side 
and the Sultan's head on the other. 

The femily of Schelm von Bergen, which expired in 
male line in 1844, had the following curious origin: — At 
a feast given by Frederic I., appeared a graceful masked 
youth, who danced with the Empress. She insisted on 
knowing who was her partner, and when he refused to say, 
appealed to the Emperor, who unmasked him, and be- 
hold ! it was the executioner's son at Bergen. He ordered 
him at once to death as the penalty for his audacity, but 
the bold youth said : ^ Sire I my execution will not undo 
the past ; make me one of your retainers.' The Bedbeard 
laughed, bade him kneel down, and knighted him, saying, 
*As a rogue you stole in here, and Schelm (rogue) of 
Bergen shall be your name.' 

The von Seinsheim issue from a bauer family, a son of 
which became a guard in the Imperial corps. One day he 
asked the Emperor to ennoble him as a reward for his 
services. The Emperor said he must first find a suitable 
coat. Seinsheim pointed out of the window at the falling 
snow. ^ Let me bear that,' he asked. ' So be it,' said the 
Kaiser, and he gave him perpendicular streaks of snow on 
a blue field. 

In a battle with the Tartars at Liegnitz in 1241, all the 
males of the family of von Schopp fell, except two who were 
friars, one a Franciscan, the other a Dominican. To ^ave 
the family from extinction, both brothers left their cloisters 
and married. Ever after, the von Schoppen descended 
from the Franciscan have the ancestral lion rampant 
habited in a ragged Capuchin suit, and those who trace 
from the Dominican bear the lion in black. 

In the last battle fought by Charley the Grreat against 
Wittekind, he lost most of his body-guard. Suddenly a 
great stone flung by a Saxon struck his shield and split it, 

The Lower Nobility. 67 

leaving the Emperor defenceless. Then one of those lying 
half dead on the iield raised himself and extended his 
plain silver shield to Charles. When the battle was over, 
the Emperor sought his assistaot, and found him still 
living, but severely wounded. He dipped his three fore- 
fingers in the blood of the wound, and drew them across 
the silver surface of the shield, then returned it to the 
knight, and said, ^ Henceforth, Schonburg, be your blood 
the badge of your house.' From that time the Schonburgs 
have borne their silver shield with one broad red bend made 
by the two first fingers, and a bendlet below gules also, 
made by the ring-finger of the monarch. 

A glorious distinction I But that of the Schenks is 
more glorious. One hot day St. Elizabeth was on her way 
to the Wartburg, attended by a glittering array of knights 
and squires. As the train passed, a poor woman held up 
her sick child and begged for food and a drop of wine for 
the little one. The knights rode by without attending to 
her petition, but a plain squire stopped, and gave the 
woman his crust and the last drop of wine in his flask. 
St. Elizabeth saw this, halted, and said, ^ Come here, 
true servant ; what you have done to the little one here is 
done to our Lord in heaven. He will reward you here- 
after, and I here. Henceforth be my butler, and pour out 
for me my cup in royal halls.' The squire, formerly called, 
from bis hardihood, Eisen-Walther, built himself the castle 
of Schweinsburg, and as the office of butler to the Land- 
grave of Thuringia was made by St. Elizabeth hereditary 
in his family, the house has ever since borne the name of 
Schenk von Schweinsburg. 

F 2 

68 Germany^ Present and Past 



Orlando, I know you are my eldest brother ; and, in the gentle con- 
dition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows 
you my better, in that you are the first -bom ; but the same tradition 
takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us : I 
have as much of my father in me as you ; albeit, I confess, your 
coming before me is nearer to his reverence. 

At You Like It, act i. sc. 1. 

The earliest coneeption of property amoDg the Grermans 
attached only to moveables. The land belonged to all ; 
but not so the sheep and oxen, they had owners ; not so 
the tent and trinkets, they were personal property. 
When men were few and the world was wide before them, 
land was not suflSciently esteemed to be parcelled out. A 
house-father moved with his herds from a feeding-ground, 
after it had been cleared, to fresh pastures. But it was 
otherwise when men settled and tilled the soil. Then 
the byre — the house and the cultivated patch of land 
just round it — were held to be property — ^the property, 
however, of a family and not of a person. 

From very early times a sharp distinction was drawn 
between real and personal property ; land, real property 
{liegende Habe\ never belonged to the individual; he 
had it in usufruct, never as his own ; but moveables 
{fahrende Habe) were allowed to l)elong to the indi- 

Roman law drew no distinction between possession and 

The Laws of Succession. 69 

property. What man had in possession, over that he 
exercised uncontrolled and absolute right. Grerman law 
never allowed this to apply to land. The land a man 
enjoyed the possession of belonged to his family, and he 
had but a life-interest in it. 

In England, at the Conquest, William confiscated the 
estates of those who had opposed his invasion. He 
granted the land to his Norman followers. But the lands 
thus granted were not given freely and for nothing; 
they were given to hold of the king subject to the per- 
formance of certain military duties as the condition of 
the enjoyment of them. The king was considered as in 
some sense the proprietor, and was called the lord para- 
mount; while the services to be rendered were regarded as 
incident or annexed to the tenure of the land ; in fact, as 
the rent to be paid for it. This feudal system of tenures, 
or holding from the king, was soon afterwards applied to 
aU other lands, although they had not been granted out, 
but remained in the hands of the original Saxon owners. 

The feudal doctrine of tenures invaded Germany also, 
and curiously modified the Teutonic tenet that land 
belonged to the family, or, more correctly speaking, was 
itself modified by the latter. 

The crown lands were given in feof. The nobles in 
like manner gave their lands to farmers firee or servile. 
But when once the plough of the new tenant had turned 
the soil, and his hand had put thatch on the roof, the 
farm and house became the property of his family under 
the lordship of the nobleman. The ruling principle of 
property rights in German law rests on the right of a 
man to enjoy the fruits of his labour. The bride, in like 
manner, takes possession of her future abode, by kindling 
a fire on the hearth, chopping up wood in the stack-yard, 
and salting the soup in the cauldron. With this principle 

JO Germany, Present and Past. 

is bound up another, ^•6. that man is not an unit isolated 
in the world, but that he is a member of a family ; that the 
family, and not the individual, is the unit in the common- 
wealth. Consequently when a man tills the soil it is not 
for himself, but for the family, just as truly as when the 
bride salts the soup, it is not for her own eating, but for 
the household over which she is the newly-crowned queen. 

What St. Paul taught as a new revelation to the civi- 
lised Soman world : ' The body is not one member, but 
many. If the foot shall say. Because I am not the hand, I 
am not of the body ; is it therefore not of the body ? ' — 
this doctrine of the Apostle was so thoroughly ingrained 
in the convictions of the Teutonic people before they 
embraced Christianity, that it has influenced their whole 
social development, and ruled their relations to property* 

When a nobleman, therefore, gave land to a bauer, free 
or villein, he gave it for ever. He lost all power of ex- 
pelling the family from the house and farm in which he 
had settled them. They paid him a rent in services of 
various sorts ; the bauer tilled his home fisaTn for him, sent 
his children into service in the castle, paid dues on their 
marriages, offered a goose at Michaelmas ; and so long as 
the bauer family rendered its services, and had a stalwart 
son to hold the plough, its tenure of the firm was unassail- 
able. The farmer could divide it among his children, or 
leave it to only one. He could dispose of it in his &mily, 
and in many cases, with consent of his heirs, even out of 
his family, freely ; for by his toil he had acquired a right 
of property in it, equal to, if not above, that of his over lord. 

In close connection with the distinction drawn between 
the ownership and usufruct of land, is the distinction 
between property inherited {Erhe^ Fr. proprea) and acquired 
(Errufigenschaft, Fr. acquits), which came to be recog- 
nised in the second period of German legislation. What 

The Laws of Succession. 71 

a man had himself acquired by his own labour and energy, 
over that he was allowed free disposal, but that which 
came to him from the fetmily, of that he had only the use 
during his life. It was not his own ; it belonged to the 
£Bimily of which he was a member, to the chain in which 
he was a link. The same doctrine prevailed in England. 
By the laws of Canute testamentary disposal of move- 
able property was alone allowed. By the laws of Henry I. 
this distinction was drawn : ^ Let a man bestow what he 
has acquired on whom he will, but if he has bookland 
inherited from his parents, let him not bestow it beyond 
the family.' Indeed it was not till the reign of Henry 
YIII. that testators were allowed to dispose of part of their 
real estate inherited by them from their fathers. 

In Germany the right of the family to the land was 
must closely guarded. Moveable property might pass 
freely from hand to hand, real property never without 
legal formalities. Women and serfs might inherit and 
devise the former, serfs could not hold and bequeath 
allodial land« neither for a while could women. The 
great-grandfather had cleared a piece of groimd, the grand- 
&ther had tilled it, the father had hedged it in, the son 
drained it. One generation entered on the labours of 
another. The land was made fat with the sweat of gene- 
rations. It was just that it should remain in the hands 
of the family which had given it its present value — of the 
family whose ancestors' hands had planted every fruit-tree, 
and feet had trodden every furrow. The grandson must 
not alienate it by imprudence, allow it to relapse into 
wilderness, leave the vines unpruned and the gamers un- 
thatched. Consequently he was always liable to ^ impeach- 
ment for waste ; ' and the testamentary alienation of 
aUodial land was never allowed. The land was never 
regarded as individual property. Tacitus, it may be re- 

72 Germany, Present and Past. 

membered, noticed that the Grermans made no wills.* 
The children entered as their right on what their fathers 
had enjoyed for life. When the Roman custom of making 
wills was introduced, it was resented as an invasion of the 
rights of the natural heirs, and was forbidden by the Laws 
of Bothar.^ An Alemannic population, that has been 
secluded among the Alps from the intrusion of foreign 
ideas, has persevered to the present day in its opposition to 
testamentary dispositions. In Unterwalden — and I believe 
it is the same in Uri and Sch wyz — to make a will is to this 
day illegal, and a testator has no power even over his 
moveables and acquisitions. A gift made within a 
month of decease is invalid.' A curious instance came 
under my notice. A priest in Unterwalden, before his 
death, gave his old housekeeper the cheeses in his dairy, as 
a little recognition for her unwearied devotion during a 
long and distressing illness — he died of cancer in the face. 
He was dead before thirty days had elapsed, and his 
nephews extorted the cheeses from the old woman, and 
made her pay for one which she had disposed of to her 
poor relations. 

In the second period of German legislation, when 
Roman civilisation began to exercise a powerful influence 
over Teutonic institutions, testamentary disposition of pro- 
perty was permitted to those who died without issue.* Bene- 
factions to the Church were tolerated rather than approved. 
The earliest wills show by their structure how little 
reliance was laid on their legality, and the attempt was 
made to give them that effect which they lacked in law, 
by an appeal to the superstitious terrors of the heirs. 

1 < Nullnm testamentom.* — Qerman. c. 20. 

* Lex Eathar. 360. 

* It is so in Scotland now. A will is invalid unless a man has 
appeared at kirk and market af U r its signature. 

* Lex IVuiffoth, iv. 2, 20. 

The Laws of Succession. 73 

They were weighted with curses as terrible as the anathema 
that fell on the Jackdaw of Rheims — curses which were 
to fall on the head and body and limbs of the heir-at-law 
should he £ to comply with the injunctions of the 

In the reigns of Henry I. and Otto the Great wills 
were not uncommon among the nobility, but it was not 
till the fifteenth century that they were made by the 
third estate. That land might be retained as long as 
possible in a family, women were not allowed to inherit 
till all the male descendants had died out. ' In land,' say 
the SaUc and Burgundian laws, ' woman has no inherit- 
ance.' By the laws of the Angles land passed ^ from the 
sword to the spindle ' * only in the fifth degree. In 
Denmark the exclusion of women from succession lasted 
till the beginning of the eleventh century. In Sweden 
Eric the Saint (c?. 1160) decreed that daughters should 
inherit a third, and Birger Jarl (c2. 1260) raised their 
share to a half. Among the Anglo-Saxons bookland 
(allodial land) was allowed to pass to a woman, but not so 

But by degrees the * impia consuetudo ' * of excluding 
the daughters from the inheritance of their fathers gave 
way before a just appreciation of woman's position, brought 
in by Christianity. Wisigoth law allowed daughters to 
inherit equally with Qons ; ' and Chilperic, by edict, in 
574, removed female disabilities to inherit in the Frank 

' But moveables went to the danghter after the son, then to the 
sister, lastly to the mother of the deceased. 

* Mareulff Fornu ii. 12. • Lex WUiffoth, iv. 2. 

♦ • De terra vero nolla in muliere hereditas est ' — Lex Sal 59, 4. 
Later recensions inserted * Salica * before terra, to exclude her only 
from the hall estate, the land that went with the ancestral title and 

74 Germany^ Present and Past. 

Lombard law was peculiar. Legitimate sons inherited 
to the exclusion of all others, but were obliged to give a 
fixed sum to their sisters and natural brothers. When 
there was no son, the daughters and sisters of the deceased 
divided, but a portion fell to the nearest male relative on 
the &ther's side. 

In the Middle Ages land was divided between sword 
and spindle. On the Middle and Upper Bhine, the sons 
took two-thirds, the daughters one-third. On the Lower 
Rhine and in part of Switzerland the sons had a half and 
the daughters a half ; but in Swabia and in a great part 
of Germany the division was by heads. 

As the land belonged, not to the individual in posses- 
sion of it, but to the &mily, he could not part with it 
without the consent of all those who had any expectation 
of inheriting it, or part of it. In the North of Grermany, 
adelsland, i.6. land which had been in the same family for 
six generations in direct succession, or which had been 
received in feof from the king, or which had been 
acquired by exchange for other allodial land, or which had 
been received as Wehrgeld, was held to be absolutely inalien- 
able from a family. By Burgundian ^ and Bavarian ^ law 
a man could not dispose of his estate without the unani- 
mous consent of all his sons. In Sweden every member 
of the family alive was required to give his consent before 
an estate could be alienated. In G-ermany dire necessity 
(Schiefiioth) alone allowed a man to sell his paternal 
acres. For instance, if the possessor of an estate fell into 
captivity, he was allowed to sell his land without the 
consent of his heirs for the purpose of redeeming himself. 
Later, he might alienate, if he took oath that without the 
sale of the land he could not pay his debts.' This was the 

* Leje Burgnnd. i. 2. * Lex Bajuv, i. 1. 

* Lex.'<Mr0n,xy\u\Sao1i96H'Spiegel,i,b%%l\ Sohiodben^Sjneg0ltZ\2ykc 

The Laws of Succession. 75 

'pauvrM jur^ of French law. But here, again, the law 
intervened to assist the family in recovering its ancestral 
fields. If the purchaser intended to resell the land, the 
heir of the original holder must have the first offer ; and 
unless he formally refused to purchase, the sale could not 
take place ; and if the heir or original owner could produce 
the sum for which the land was sold within a year and a 
day of the sale, the purchaser was bound to restore it. 
This was the retractatus burace or gentilitius — the retrait 
lignager of French law. As late as the sixteenth century 
this law was universal in Germany. It was only abolished 
at the Bevolution in France. Mortgage of a property was 
as inadmissible as alienation, except under the same 
conditions — consent of heirs or necessity. 

These laws applied not only to the land held by the 
nobles, but to that of the peasant as well, and the bauer 
clung to his ancestral farm with as much tenacity as the 1 

noble to his castle — with more indeed — the former holds | 

fast still, the latter has let go. 

But though landed property was thus secured to a 
&mily, it was not indivisible. On the contrary, it was, 
throughout a great part of Germany, divided equally 
among the sons, or among the sons and daughters in equal 
or different proportions according to their sex. 

The Salic ^ and Alemannic ^ laws speak of the division 
of an estate among many sons. This was not, however, 
always possible, especially among the bauers. Among 
them it was customary to leave the farm to one son, and 
divide the profits, hoarded through many years, among the 
others. As the most general custom was for the youngest < 

son to inherit the farm, the elder children were portioned 
off before the death of the father. But of this presently. 

In the Middle Ages there were two codes of law 

1 Lex Sal lix. 2, 6. * Lex AUman. 8S. 

76 Germany^ Present and Past. 

governiDg the relations of holders to the soil — the feudal 
law {Lehnrecht), and the land law {LandrecM). These 
codes favoured distinct modes of inheritance. 

Feudalism demanded primogeniture. An office given 
by the king could not be divided among several ; it must 
be held by one man. With the office went crown land in 
feof. The office and lands once given became hereditary 
in a family in tail male. The eldest son invariably suc- 
ceeded to both the office and the crown feof. But almost 
always a crown vassal had also allodial estates in his use, 
which he had inherited from his ancestors. When he 
died, his feudal tenures went by feudal law to his eldest 
son, and the family estates by land-right were partitioned 
equally among all his sons. The Landrecht did not re- 
cognise primogeniture. 

In 1036 died Frederic I.^ Count Palatine of Saxony. 
His eldest son (not in orders) succeeded to the Palatinate, 
but his family property was equally partitioned among his 
three sons. Welf IV., Duke of Bavaria, was succeeded in 
the duchy by his eldest son, Welf V. ; but Welf V. shared 
the family estate equally with his brother, Henry the Black. 
Henry the Proud, in 1126, followed his &ther as sole Duke 
of Bavaria ; but Swabia fell to his brother, Welf VI. 

Very often estates were divided by lot. 

In the thirteenth century the families holding feofs 
had come to regard their feudal tenures as inalienable 
family property, to be dealt with and divided like their 
allodial lands. And we begin then to find the eldest 
brother retain the title only, and the lands, feudal and 
allodial, thrown into one lump and divided among the 
brothers ^ aequa lance.' 

By feudal law descendants alone succeeded; there was 
no succession by ascendants.^ 

1 < De oonsuetudine imperii non succedit nisi filina desoendens, iino 

Tlte Laws of Succession. 77 

German feudal right excluded daughters and female 
descendants ; it instituted a purely agnatic descent. 

Barely were princely families able to have recourse 
to that convenient institution of the land-right, the ^ ge- 
sammte Hand,' to interfere in favour of ascendants ; they 
were, however, successful in obtaining in several instances 
succession of tenures in tail male to their daughters' 

Leutolf obtained the duchy of Swabia after the death 
of his feither-in-law^ Duke Hermann I. ; he had married 
Ida, the duke's daughter, and as there was no son, the 
feof reverted to the crown, but the Emperor invested 
Leutolf with it afresh. Again, Hermann III. died with- 
out male issue in 1012, and the Emperor, Henry II., gave 
the dukedom to Ernest I., who had married the sister of 
the late duke. 

Frederic III., Burgrave of Niimberg, fearing that he 
should die without male issue, obtained a special con- 
cession from the Emperor (1213) that his oflSce and 
feudal lands might pass to a daughter. The Count of 
Guelders wrung a similar privilege from the Emperor 
Adolfus in 1295. 

It was quite otherwise with land-right. In the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries daughters inherited 
estates, and carried them, as heiresses, into other families. 

In the county of Wertheim reigned two brothers 
simultaneously, Poppo IV. and Eudolf II. Poppo left 
behind him no sons, but three daughters ; and these, as 
his heiresses, divided the Wertheim estates with their 
uncle, and each took a sixth of the county as her portion 
When the ducal line of Zahringen expired in male tail, 

reTertitor feudum ad imperatorem. Sic vldi hoc qnando fieri in 
Alemannia, per proceres jndicari.' — Card, Eartientis: Summa de 
fendU (13ih cent.). 

78 Germany, Present a?id Past, 

the Mar^frave of Baden, though closely allied in blood, 
did not succeed to the territories of the duke ; they were 
taken by his daughters into the families into which they 

By land-right, as already said, no alienation of fa- 
mily property was allowed to the greatest duke or the 
humblest yeoman, without the consent of his heirs pre- 

In 1221, Hermann yon der Lippe made a religious 
foundation ^with the consent of his wife, his sons, his 
daughters, his brother's son, and all his heirs.' Had one 
of these withheld consent, the foimdation could not have 
been made. 

In 996, Adela, daughter of Count Wichmann, appealed 
against a religious bequest of her father, because it had 
been made without her leave, and the Emperor Otto III. 
restored the estate to her. The Elector Palatine, Ehren- 
fried, and his wife Mathilda, founded and endowed the 
Abbey of Braunweiler. Their children reclaimed the land 
as an illegal alienation, their consent not having been 
given, and they gained their cause. 

As might have been anticipated, the interminable 
division and subdivision of estates brought many princely 
and countly families to ruin. They sank out of consider- 
ation, and disappeared. The disintegration would have 
been more rapid had not the wars which raged in Germany 
swept away so many heirs expectant, and reduced the 
number of those among whom an estate was ultimately 
split up. But when the military profession ceased to 
absorb the scions of noble houses, and the sword to con- 
sume them, the consequences of unbounded subdivision 
came to be felt seriously. Land-right took a lesson from 
feudal right. One naember of the family was constituted 
its head and rallying-point ; to him the estate was made 

The Laws of Succession. 79 

over entire, and the rest of the family contented them- 
selves with annuities, or appanages. But it was not the 
sword only which had reduced the number of heirs to a 
barony and county. The Church had been utilised by the 
nobility for the same purpose. Almost every great house 
had an abbey or a convent which it had endowed, and 
which could accommodate the junior sons, and the daughters 
it could not afford to portion. Cathedral chapters, mitred 
monasteries, received into them none who were not nobly 
bom. He who would renounce the world must first prove 
his pedigree. In Wiirzbiurg were twenty-four canons and 
thirty vicars choral ; at Bamberg twenty canons and four- 
teen minor canons ; and none could be received into these 
chapters who could not trace blue blood through eight 
descents on both father's and mother's sides. In vain 
did the Popes protest, under colour of love for religfion, 
actually because these aristocratic strongholds were closed 
to their Italian favourites. 

The Beformation led to the secularisation of a vast 
number of religious houses and the appropriation of tlieir 
lands by the Protestant princes. These were left, after 
the first excitement and exultation of appropriation, fiice 
to face in aggravated form with the difficulty of providing 
for their younger sons. 

In 1356 the Golden Bull of Charles IV. had subjected 
the feofs of the electors to the law of primogeniture. 
Several of the princes of the Empire thereupon established 
the same law in their families, but it was not effected at 
once, or generally, or without difficulty. No such law 
could be passed without the consent of all the sons, and 
the consent of juniors to disinherit themselves was not 
always to be obtained. 

But the principality of Liineburg was made inheri- 
table by the first-bom in 1356 ; primogenitiu-e was intro- 

8o Germany, Present and Past, 

duced into the Palatinate in 1368, and again confirmed in 
1 378. Into Brandenburg it penetrated in 1473, into Wiir- 
temberg in 1482, into Bavaria in 1506. In the territories 
of the Albertine line of Saxony it was introduced as early 
as 1499 ; in Austria not till 1587. It was only when the 
Saxon princely families were seen to be broken up and 
sinking into a wreck of splinters, that they adopted primo- 
geniture, Saxe- Weimar in 1719, Saxe- Weimar-Eisenach in 
1724, Saxe-Altenburg in 1715, Saxe-Meiningen-Hildburg- 
hausen in 1801, Hesse-Homburg in 1626, and Hesse-Gassel 
in 1620. 

It is hardly matter of surprise that those families which 
were the first to admit the principle of primogeniture, and 
keep their territories together, are the only ones which 
have survived mediatisation. All the others had fallen 
into such small portions that their independence was sup- 
pressed in 1808. 

The house of Bentheim had estates of some extent. 
Arnold IV., who died in 1606, left five sons, who divided 
them among them. Only two of the six branches now 

Duke Ernest I. of Saxony had seven sons, and he saw 
that if he divided Saxony among them, the dignity of the 
family as well as its power would suffer. He meditated 
the introduction of primogeniture, but was dissuaded by 
his court preacher, who quoted to him the text, ' If chil- 
dren, then heirs.' But the fate of Saxony, and of the 
House of Saxony, was sealed earlier. Frederic the Elector 
left two sons, Ernest and Albert, who, in 1485, divided the 
inheritance of their father. Ernest took Thuringia, half 
of the Osterland and Naumburg, the Electorate, the Vogt- 
land,the Franconian possessions of the family, and the duchy 
of Saxony. Albert took Meissen, and the second half of 
Eastern Saxony, all of which he left to his eldest son. But 

The Laws of Sticcession. 8i 

Ernest did not introduce the right of primogeniture, and the 
poBsessions of the Ernestine line were broken up. Ernest I. 
(bom 1601), who, as already said, purposed its introduc- 
tion, was one of ten sons ; and he left seven — all heirs. 
The Ernestine line dissolved into Saxe-Altenburg, Saze- 
Weimar, Saxe-Eisenach, Saxe-Gotha, Saxe-Coburg, 
Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Eomheld, Saxe-Eisemberg, Saxe- 
Hildburghausen, and Saxe-Saalfeld, whereas the younger 
Albertine line is now royal. Had Frederic II. but in- 
troduced primogeniture into his family at the same time 
as the Elector of Brandenburg, Saxony, and not Prussia, 
would have been the head of the Grermanic Empire. Let 
any man remember what the Saxon folk was in the time 
of Charlemagne, how desperately and heroically it fought 
for its independence, how it extended from the Dutch 
frontier, from the Bhine at Emmerich to Bohemia, 
and look at Saxony now, shrivelled into a petty king- 
dom, Westphalia and all the Saxon and Thuringian 
provinces swallowed up by Prussia. The breaking up 
of the Ernestine line into parcels, patches, pinches of 
principalities, has been the ruin of a great people, and 
has robbed it of its right prerogative, the headship of 

The disastrous effects of unlimited subdivision of pro- 
perty are now fully realised by the upper nobility of 
Grermany, and they have taken precautions against it. 

There are four modes whereby estates are kept to- 
gether by settlement: — 1. Primogeniture^ the right of 
I the eldest son, or, in the event of his death before his 

father, his eldest son, to succeed to the undivided landed 
estate. 2. Majority, the right of the eldest of the near 
male relations to succeed. 3. Seniority, the right of the 
eldest male relative, without regard to closeness of relation- 
ship. 4. Secundo and Tertiogeniture, the giving of 

TOL. I. 

82 Germany y Present and Past. 

appanages to the joimger sons for life ; which revert on 
their death to the fiEunily estate. 

Majority and seniority {'majoraJt and semorat) require 
some further explanation and iUustration, as they are not 
English institutions like primogeniture, with which we are 

I. Among deacendatUs. — ^A is Count of Stolzen^;g, 
leaving two sons, B and C. If D, the eldest son of B, 
dies before his feither, then, if the right of primogeniture 
be established in the &mily, the title and territory and 
estate will pass to G, the eldest grandson of B. But if the 




I ; t 



I I 

Q H 

law of succession adopted be that of Majority, £, the 
second son, will become Count of Stolzen^ig, and inherit 
the undivided property. But, if Seniority be the family 
right, then C, the brother of B, will become Count, to 
the exclusion of D, the grandson, and £ and F, the sons 
of the deceased. 

II. Avnong nso&ndarda. — If £ dies after his brother 
F and Ps eldest son G, then, by right of primogeniture, 
the county and coronet of Stolzen^;g pass from B to E, 
his great nephew ; but, by right of Majority, it would go 
to H, the second nephew. By rig^t of Seniority, however, 
it would go to D, the son of C — that is, supposing C to 
be dead. But if C be alive, then, both by right of 
Majority and of Seniority, he would succeed £• 

The Laws of Succession. 83 













The inheritance of an estate by Majority or Seniority 
has this advantage (I), that he who succeeds to the fortune 
of the deceased is not legally responsible for his debts, 
which is not the case when the successor is the eldest son ; 
therefore Majority or Seniority is regarded as much 
stronger than primogeniture for keeping up the fortimes 
of a £Eunily, and is therefore much affected by the great 
houses of G-ermany. 

The Count of Dyhm now enjoys the 'Majorate' of 
Laasan and of Ober-Gl<^u; the Prince Sulkowsky is 
also ID possession of two, the ^ Majorate ' of Suchelna and 
that of Seisen. 

Secundogeniture is the giving a life-interest in an estate 
belonging to the jfomily to a second son. Tertiogeniture 
is a similar provision for the third son. In the House of 
Hapsburg, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was an appanage 
held by the second son, till it was incorporated in the 
Kingdom of Italy. 

The German ^ Fideicommiss ' is much the same as the 
English entail of property. It is a legal creation of the 
seventeenth century, and is a curious instance of the way 
in which Soman right was twisted to accommodate 
German principles of landed tenure. We have seen that 
throughout the Middle Ages the doctrine was held that 
land belonged to the family, and that the possessor of it 

o 2 

84 Germany, Present and Past. 

for the time being had only a life-interest in it — a doc- 
trine quite foreign to Eoman law. A Fideicommiss now 
means an estate which has been legally constituted an 
entail, with succession either by primogeniture or by 
' Minorat,' or by * Majorat,' or by Seniority. A Fidei- 
commiss can at any time be founded by the * Familien- 
rath,' or family council, constituted of all the members of 
the family. By similar judgment of the family council, 
ratified by the board which registered the foundation of 
the Fideicommiss, the entail can be cut ofiT. The possessor 
of the entailed estate has little power over it ; he cannot 
sell or mortgage it, and is liable to ^ impeachment for 
waste ' should he cut down timber excessively, or in other 
ways injure it in value, or allow it to deteriorate. The 
Count of Dohna sits in the Prussian Court of Nobles and 
House of Lords in virtue of being the holder of the Fidei- 
commiss of Schlobitten, Lauch, Schlodien-Carwinden, 
and Keichertswald ; the Count of Dyhm for the entailed 
lordships of Neu-Hardenberg, Klein-Oels, Mittelwald, and 
Seisewitz. The Count of Taczanowo holds his GraGschaft 
by Fideicommiss. In Germany, in the Middle Ages, the 
upper nobility had their own code of laws, the Fiirsten- 
recht. Though mediatised, they still enjoy great l^;al 
privileges of establishing family laws, which are allowed 
to have legal force. The family law (FamUienpact) is 
passed by the family gathered in council, and it affects 
everything in which the house has a common interest^ as 
the succession to titles and estates, the marriages of its 
members, and the authority more or less dictatorial 
accorded to the head. His consent withholden may in- 
validate a marriage. I know a case of a member of the 
upper ten thousand who married a lady not of equal rank 
with himself. The marriage could not have been solem- 
nised by Board or priest, without the consent of the head of 

The Laws of Succession. 85 

the house having been given in writing ; and that was 
only granted when he had signed away every claim he 
might have to the titles and estates of the family, both 
for himself and his son, and undertook to bear thenceforth 
only his fiEimily name, with no other mark of rank than 
the prefix * von.' Should his elder brother die childless, 
neither he nor his son could succeed ; they are cut out of 
the &mily-tree legally as well as heraldically, and the 
title and coronet would pass over his head to his nephew 
by a younger brother. 

The German Bimdesact (Art. 14) gives this autonomy 
and right of passing &mily statutes to the houses of the 
mediatised princes and counts. When a statute has been 
passed, it can only be repealed by an unanimous vote of 
the family council. A majority of voices can neither 
make a law nor abrogate one. In France all family pacts 
are illegal. The House of Nassau, in 1783, drew up a 
most elaborate code of family institutes, which were 
ratified and renewed in 1814. But the most remarkable 
of all was the fiamily code of Napoleon I., signed March 
30, 1806, by which all the sovereigns of his family were 
subjected to his paternal authority and supervision ; and 
it was provided that in case of disobedience he might 
throw them into prison and keep them there for a twelve- 

One institution of German right never took root 
among the aristocracy ; this was the < gesammte Hand,* 
already alluded to, but not explained. Before describing 
it, it is necessary to review the laws and customs relating 
to the prc^rty of married women. 

When a woman married, she brought with her to her 
husband's house a dower, given her by her parents 
{Auasteuer). This consisted sometimes of two parts, the 
* Heimsteuer ' and the • Leibgedinge.' The * Heimsteuer ' was 

86 Germany^ Present and Past, 

her contribution towards the furnishing of the house, and 
the clothing and adorning of her own person. It com- 
prised almost always the linen. Amongst ourselves an 
unmarried woman is termed a spinster, because she is 
supposed to be engaged in the days of her maidenhood in 
spinning and weaving the linen for her future house. In 
Germany to the present day the wife is expected to furnish 
the new house, not only with sheets and towels, but with 
pots, pans, chairs, beds, and tables. This, then, is the 
^ Heimsteuer,' in the sense of her contribution towards the 
stocking the new home. It means more. She must 
bring with her clothes and jewels suitable to her rank.' 
The former part of the * Heimsteuer ' falls under the law of 
the ^ gesanmite Hand.' It goes into the conmion stock, 
and neither husband nor wife can dispose of any article 
that was comprised in it without the consent of the other 
and of the children. But her clothes and ornaments belong 
exdusively to the woman, and the husband cannot touch 
them. It was thought a thing monstrous and illegal 
when Coimt Eulalius, to pay his debts, sold his wife's 

Thesecond part of the'Aussteuer'was the'Leibgedinge,' 
or the old Witthum. This consisted of a dower in land, 
money, or stock, given by the parents with their daughter, 
so that she might not be wholly dependent on her husband 
for her maintenance. Among the Bomans it was thought 
discreditable if a' woman came to her bridegroom empty- 
handed ; * but it was thought more than discreditable 
among the Germans, it was regarded as making the mar- 

1 < Omamenta propria * — Legei Angl, et Wer, i. 7. 

' Greg. Tnron. Hitt. IVane. z. 20. 

* Sed at inops, infamis ne sim, ne mi hanc famam diffexant 
Me germanam meam aororem in concabinatum tibi 
8io dne dote dedisse magiB qoam in matrimonium. 

Plant. Triniumm. A. ill. so. 2. 

The Laws of Succession. 87 

riage nothing better than concubinage. The German 
mind was so penetrated with the conception of marriage 
as a putting together of property, that it refused to allow 
that to be a lawful marriage where the property was all 
on one side.^ ' Charles the Bald took Bichildis to be his 
concubine. Now on a certain feast-day he took the afore- 
said concubine and made her his wife (m conjugem accepit) 
by espousing and dowering her (deaponsatam et dotdtamy ^ 
The Emperor by fiction assumed that her parents had 
given him money with her; he then l)efore witnesses 
made a ^ Wiederl^[img,' assured her a dower in widow- 
hood, and by so doing converted her from mistress to 
lawful wife. Till the dower was paid, the children were 
illegitimate. Sometimes, as in the case of Charles the 
Bald, the husband provided the dower without having 
received its equivalent from the parents of his bride. 
Chindaswind, in 645, forbade husbands giving more than 
one-tenth of their property as dower, except as a ^ Wieder- 
legung,' to money actually paid with the bride. When 
land was given with the wife, it did not come into the 
^ gesammte Hand,' but the woman had free disposal of it. 
In the lay of Meier Helmbrecht we read — 

Full well I know what wiU be given 
By Master Bnpert to his daughter ; 
Some sheep, some pigs, a dozen kyne. 

When the portion consisted of cattle, they were put into 
the common stock, and then ceased to belong to the wife 
alone. It was the same among citizens when the bride 

' King Alfred ordered, ' If a man allows his son to marry a slav^- 
girl, let him betroth her to him, and provide her with clothes and 
what is neoessarj for her maidenhood ; that is her Weotuma, let him 
give her that.* Without the witthom the girl would be a concubine, 
but with it a legitimate wife. 

> J^ragm. ap. DuohMns, ii. 404. 

88 Germany^ Present and Past. 

brought with her merchandise or money. It was put 
with, and confounded with, the property of the man, and 
thenceforth all the property was held with ^gesammte 
Hand,' so that neither had power over it without consent 
of the other. 

Among the aristocracy, when the bride brought with 
her money, not land, then the husband made a * Wieder- 
legung '— i.c. he gave to her the land or buildings equiva- 
lent in value to the sum paid to him with her. In 1332, 
the Count of Montfort received with his wife 2,000 marks 
in silver, and he undertook to build her a castle * as a 
true and proper Wiederlegung.' In the ballad of 
* Metzen's Marriage : ' 

Then Mistress Metzen was ' wieder laid ' 
With two good acres, thickly sowed 
With winnowed oats, and in the yard 
With poultry-house and fourteen hens, 
And of pennies five pound. 

The wife had also as her own the * Morgengabe.' This 
was a sum of money, or a charge on land, or cattle, given 
freely by the husband to his wife the morning after 
marriage. It was given only to those who were maids, 
and therefore not to widows on second marriage. The 
generosity of the bridegroom was thought on such an 
occasion to require legal restriction, and the Schwaben- 
Spiegel lays down the limits of the Morgengabe, which 
must not be exceeded. Kings were under no control, but 
princes and barons might not exceed 100 marks in their 
effusive liberality ; the lesser nobility could not give above 
10 marks ; the servants of a prince were limited to 6 
marks. A knight might bestow on his bride his best 
horse or a cow, money he was not supposed to have to 
give ; but a merchant might bestow on her 10 marks and 
a horse and cow. A farmer was tied to one horse and one 

The Laws of Succession. 89 

cow, or 10 marks, not both ; and a serf to a sheep or a 
goat, or 5 sous. 

When a woman brought with her no portion from her 
parents, she had only the ^ Morgengabe' of her husband to 
look to as her own, as her provision in widowhood. A 
marriage with only *Morgengabe,* and without * Aussteuer,* 
was called in the corrupt Latin of the Lombard laws 
' matrimonium in morgenaticam,' and this originated the 
name, ' morganatic marriage.' The wife who came to her 
husband without portion was naturally supposed to be his 
inferior in birth^ and therefore unequal marriages were 
entitled moiganatic marriages. 

A law of Liutprand, in 717, requires, ^ If any husband 
wishes to give a Morgencap to his wife, when he has asso- 
ciated her to him in marriage, let him do so by deed and 
before witnesses, her parents and friends, and let him say, 
'* This is the Morgencap I have given to my wife," that 
there may be no chance of mistake afterwards. But the 
Morgencap must never exceed one quarter of his property. 
It may be less if he chooses.' Again, in 728, Liutprand 
forbade husbands under any excuse giving more of their 
fortune to their wives than what was fixed by law for 
* Meta ' and * Morgencap.' The Franks called the Morgen- 
gabe ' donum matutinum,' and fixed it at not exceeding a 
third of the estate. With them it was soon confounded 
with the dower or ' Wiederlegung.' 

The amount of the Morgengabe came in the Middle 
Ages to be agreed upon in the marriage contract ; but it 
was never paid till the morning after marriage. It was 
sometimes given in land, sometimes in goods. William I. 
of Holland, in 1 220, gave his wife as morning-gift a water- 
mill (mdUndvaa aquatica). Duke William of Julich 
gave his bride SybiUa of Brandenburg, in 1480, the castle 
of Benrode, and 500 florins for pin-money. 

90 Germany y Present and Past. 

In the Sacfasen-Spiegel, the Morgengabe is that part of 
the substance of the husband which the widow can claim on 
his death. It consists of all the hens, geese, cows, mares, 
and sheep ; to the cocks, ganders, bulls, and horses she has 
no claim. But the widow never broke up the fiumyard 
by carrying off all the poultry and cattle of her sex ; she 
received from the heirs in lieu a simi which was their 

In Saxony the institution was legally abolished in 
1829; it survives more as a tradition than a practice, 
except, perhaps, among the peasantry of parts of Grermany, 
who cling tenaciously to old usages. 

The property of married people was not usually thrown 
together till a child was bom to them, or till a year and a 
day had elapsed since they were united. 

When the property was thrown together it was held with 
* gesammte Hand ' by both together, and neither without 
the other could dispose of the property ; for 'Leib an Leib,' 
said the law, and * Gut an Gut.' Generally the man had 
control with free hand over the moveables, but his hand 
was tied in his disposal of the inmioveables. 

During marriage two kinds of property had to be 
considered — that which was brought into common use on 
the occasion of marriage, and that which was acquired by 
husband or wife after marriage. Such was rarely thrown 
into ^ gesammte Hand,' but remained at the free disposal 
of the party who had inherited or otherwise acquired it. 

When husband or wife died, the division and succession 
to property differed according to whether the marriage 
had been without issue (ttn6«er6fe Ehe) or with issue 
(beerbte Ehe). According to Old German law on the 
Upper and Middle Ehine, when in a marriage without issue 
one of the parties died, then the widower took two-thirds, 
the widow one-third, of property acquired during marriage 

The Laws of Succession. 9 1 

{Erru7igefMctiaft\ Such was a statute passed by Bishop 
William of Strassbnrg, in 1533, for Egisheim.' The sur- 
Tivor could always claim support from the estate of the 
deceased. This was called, on the Lower Bhine, lAf-iochi^ 
on the Middle fihine and in Franconia, Biaeaa 

According to the usage of Freiburg in Breisgau 
(1120), of Colmar (1293), of Eemich (1477), of Lorraine, 
Luxemburg (1588), Echtemach (1589), Ac., the woman 
inherited all after the death of her husband without 

By Saarbriicken land-right the survivor kept all the 
personal and acquired property of the deceased for life, 
after which it passed to his heirs. This was the law also 
in Old Wiirtemberg and the towns of East Franconia. 

As a general usage in marriage without issue, the 
moveables were held in common during life, and after 
death all went to the survivor, or were divided by quota 
among the heirs. All acquisitions in immoveables went 
to the male heirs; but if the widow had received no 
Morgengabe, she could legally demand of them one-third 
as her own, in some places one-half ; and what was over, 
and went to the male heirs, was encumbered with charges 
for the support of the widow. AU acquisitions by inheri- 
tance on one side or the other went to the heirs, but were 
charged for the maintenance of the widower or widow. 

When, however, marriage was with issue, laws were 
different. By Cologne right all property went to the 
children, but was charged with the maintenance of the 

> 'Que les plus proches h^ritien da d^fnnt h^ritent et prennent 
poor leor part les bienB immenbles provenant de la ligne da d6c^6, s*ils 
flont encore existans et n*ont pas 6t6 change ; mais aa cas qae les blens 
ont 6t6 changes, ils en prennent deoz tiers, et la f emme on ses h^ritiers I 

nn tiers.* 

' < Omnts miilier parificabitar viro, et e contra, et vir malieris erit 
bnres, et e contra.' 

92 Germany y Present and Past, 

widow. But by Bern, Freiburg in Voigtland, and Swabian 
right (in Kempten, Meningen, Lixidau, &c.), all went to 
the survivor, with charges for the children. By Mainz 
right the estate was divided between widow and children, 
the widow and daughters taking the ^ spindle share,' one- 
third, and dividing it among them ; the sons taking the 
^ sword share,' two-thirds, and dividing that. 

When property went all to the vddow, the children had 
a lien ( VerfiEuigenschaft) on it ; she could not mortgage, 
sell, or give away any of it. 

The law in Prussia is now this, in cases of intestacy : — 

If the deceased leaves relatives in descending line, 
children or grandchildren, the survivor (widow or widower) 
takes one-fourth. 

If there are more than three descendants to inherit, 
the survivor shares equally with the children. 

If the deceased leaves only ascendants in the first 
degree, brothers and sisters, then the survivor takes one- 

If the relatives are more distant, as nephews and 
nieces, the survivor inherits one-half. 

If there are no relatives, the survivor inherits all. 

In no case can a husband or wife deprive the other by 
will of one-half of the share which would &11 to his or her 
lot in the case of intestacy. For instance, a man with 
three children may bequeath to his wife one-eighth of his 
estate. The half of what she would obtain were he to 
die intestate is called the ^ Pflichttheil,' and is inalien- 

Modem German law lays down as the rule of intestate 
succession : * Children inherit equal shares of their parents' 
estate.' But a parent is not obliged to give his child 
more than the * Pflichttheil.' When a parent has only 
one or two children, then the ^ Pflichttheil ' is a third of the 

The Laws of Succession. 93 

sum which would be given to the child were the parent 
to die intestate. For instance, a man has an estate worth 
10,000L ; if he dies intestate, leaving a wife and two chil- 
dren, the widow takes 2y500{., and each child, male or 
female, 3,7 50L But he may so dispose of his property 
that the wife get« only 1,250^., and each child 1,250{. 

If there be three or four children, then the ' Pflicht- 
theil ' is one half ; if there be more than four, two-thirds 
of what would be the share of the child were the parent 
to die intestate. But if a child marries without the 
parent's consent, the * Pflichttheil ' is reduced one-half. 

When modem German law rules the equal subdivision 
of property among children when the father dies without 
making a will, it follows the tradition of German land- 
right from inmiemorial times. But, though equal parti- 
tion has been the theory, it has not been the invariable 

During more than two thousand years among the 
Bedouins the law of primogeniture has been recognised. 
The wealth of the Bedouin consists in herds, and not in 
land. Divided, the herds of the head of the family would 
not suffice to maintain each son. Subdivision of the 
moveable inheritance, when nothing else prevented, does 
not take place, for economical reasons. For economical 
reasons also equal partition has not been put in practice 
in a great part of Germany. A bauer has a dwelling- 
house and farm-buildings and an estate. He dies, leaving 
five children. They call in a valuer, and he appraises the 
land at 40,000 thalers, and the buildings at 10,000. 
Each child takes a fifth. One, therefore, gets the farm- 
house and offices without land, and the others get each a 
quarter of the land and no house, bams, or stables. I 
remember a raffle in a village got up by a travelling 
tinker. There were three prizes — his donkey, his cart, 

94 Germany, Present and Past. 

the harness; and tickets were sixpence each. A shoe- 
maker who had no paddock got the ass ; the cart went to 
a lollipop-seller, a widow, who had no shed under which 
to put it ; and the harness was won by a carrier who had a 
horse too large to go in the gear worn by the donkey. 
Partitions as unpromising of success are often the result 
of these divisions among the heirs of feumers. Becourse 
is sometimes had to a sale. This is avoided if possible, as 
the German peasant clings to the paternal farm with as 
much love as the English squire to the estate and hall of 
his ancestors. What is much more common is for one son 
to undertake the farm, mortgage it up to its full value, 
and pay with what he raises on it the claims of his brothers 
and sisters. This is how it is that so much farm-land is 
mortgaged. The profits go to the Jew money-lenders; 
and the bauer scrambles on as best h,e may, never able to 
pay off the money raised, and when he dies leaving nothing 
to be divided among his children. Wherever one goes 
the German peasant may be heard muttering curses on the - 
Jew, who sucks the fat out of the land, and grows rich on 
the labour of the peasant whom he is crushing. But the 
system is to blame, and not the money-lender. It has 
been proposed, but, I believe, not yet acted upon, that the 
bauers should leave annuities to those of their children 
who do not take on the farm. A farmer could pay his 
fellow-heirs out of the annual receipts; and those who 
desire to raise capital could sell their annuities. One 
thing is perfectly certain ; the present system is ruinous to 
agriculture, for the farmer goes on tilling without capital. 
He starts on his farming without a penny in his pocket ; 
all he has raised on the land has gone to his brothers and 
sisters, and to the end of his days he is struggling to keep 
a family on nothing, whilst the profits of the farm are 
eaten up by the usurer. Till the Beformation usury was 

714^ Laws of Succession. 95 

forbidden. The idea of capital, as we understand it, was 
not understood in the Middle Ages. Canon law forbade 
the taking of usuiy for the loan of money, and it was for- 
bidden also by land law. Even Melanchthon regarded 
money taken for the loan of a sum as robbeiy. The pro- 
hibition of usury had one advantageous result — it saved 
estates and farms from being burdened with mortgages. 
It is obvious that before the raising money on a farm was 
possible, the system of buying ofif the coheirs could not be 
put in practice. There were, also, economical reasons in 
many parts which forbade the parcelling of the land. 

What was done was this. The youngest son was con- 
stituted heir to the &rm and lands. The father was 
always, therefore, able to portion off his elder children in 
his lifetime, according to his means, extinguishing one 
after another their claims on his inheritance. Conse- 
quently, when the youngest son came into possession, the 
farm was burdened only with an annuity for his mother. 
This system is still very widely spread and greatly fa- 
voured, and it answers admirably. The Mher, better than 
anybody else, is able to estimate the net value of his farm. 
He lays by his savings till he has enough for the portion 
of the eldest son or eldest daughter ; he then puts the 
first out in trade or marries the other. Then he saves for 
the second, and so on till all the children are provided 
for. In some cases the amount given is not over the 
Pflichttheil ; it is never quite up to the full share, were 
the estate sold and divided. The professional valuer, as 
a bauer said to me, puts the full price on the land ; the 
father always values to suit the exigencies of the family 
and the welfare of the farm.^ 

> In North Genoany, where farms are not divided, the daoghtera 
are dowered not in proportion to the estate, bat to the station in life 
of the father.— iii^Ai ; Die Femilie, Stnttg. 1S61, p. 16. 


96 Germany, Present and Past 

One great advantage of ' Minorat ' succession in farms 
is that the bloom of life and power for work of the heir 
coincides more nearly with the declension of power and 
activity in the father than under primogeniture, in which 
very generally both father and heir presumptive are simul- 
taneously full of life and vigour. But, on the other hand, 
it has this disadvantage, that no son knows whether he 
will be heir or not till nine months after the father's 

' Minorat,' Borough English, is general in the Schwarz- 
wald, in Altenburg, Wolfenbiittel, Oldenburg, and portions 
of Bremen and Verden, and universal in Westphalia, 
Grubenhagen, Diepholz, the £mmenthal, and the Upper 

In Bremen and Verden another custom is for the 
father to leave the farm to the most able-bodied of his 
sons, without regard to age. In Meiningen, the parents 
conjointly appoint their heir to the land. Their choice 
usually falls on the eldest or the youngest, according as 
Majorat or Minorat is the tradition of the family or the 
custom of the neighbourhood. In some places primo- 
geniture and Borough English subsist side by side in 
adjoining communities. . In certain places — ^in portions of 
the Black Forest, for instance — the land always travels 
through a female hand. It goes to the eldest daughter ; 
if there be no daughters, to the sister, or sister's daughter. 
This custom dates from a remote antiquity, and is cer- 
tainly pre-historic. It means that no reliance can be 
placed on a woman's virtue ; and to secure the estate in 
the family it must be made to descend through females. 
A wise son knows his father, but any fool can name his 
mother. Borough English is now almost exclusively the 
custom of the bauers ; it has long ceased to be that of 
aristocratic succession ; but German nursery tales, which 

The Laws of Succession. 9 7 

always make the joongest son the successful and favoured 
cbild, the heir to the crown, point to a period when it was 
universal among all classes. ' It is well, said M oser, ^ to 
have the elder hirds out of the nest, full-fledged and flying, 
whilst the heir is hatching.' 

In some places, as at Gottingen, lot decides which son 
shaU have the farm. A very common usage is for a son 
to be disqualified for inheriting if he be not bom on the 
farm. Another, equally common, is more curious, and 
altogether inexplicable. In the event of a bauer dying 
and leaving a widow with a family, if the widow marries 
again, then the second husband and her children by him 
inherit over the heads of the children of the bauer whose 
property it was. She alienates the estate, by marriage, 
from the blood descendants of the possessor. 

When an heir is under age — and this is often the case 
when the farm goes to the youngest — then * Interimwirth- 
schaft ' is a common form of trusteeship. It is usually 
this : the nearest adult male relative — the uncle, or even 
the stepfather — throws his property in with that of the 
minor, and manages them as one. A * gesammte Hand ' 
can only be broken by death. Consequently, the trustee 
remains on the estate with life possession, and the heir 
can only enter on it on the death of the guardian. This 
system proved so fruitful a cause of quarrel, that it was 
aboUshed by law in Mecklenburg in 1810, and some other 
States have since forbidden it. 

I have already mentioned the fact that in parts of 
Swabia the widow inherits and carries on the farm or 
business for life, and the children cannot enter upon it till 
after their mother's death. 

VOL. I. 

98 Germany^ Present aftd Past. 



Proputty, proputty's ivrything 'ere. 

Tennyson's Northern Feumer^ N. S. 

There is no feature in the English landscape so torment* 
ing and intractable to an artist as the hedge; and yet 
that is the feature dearest to the naturalist — the home and 
harbour of flower and fern. A painter can make no 
picture out of a hillside cut up like a chess-board ; and 
the botanist despairs of flowers on the unhedged plains of 

How came we to have hedgerows in England? and 
how came they in South Germany to have none ? We 
have hedges because the Anglo-Saxon conquerors of our 
island brought hedges with them, or, at all events, a 
theory of land-tenure and farming which necessitated 
hedges ; whereas the Alemanni, the Franks, Burgxmdians, 
and Swabians held a doctrine of land-tenancy which dis- 
pensed with them. On the north bank of the Lippe scat- 
tered farms nestle among trees with their stack-yards 
round them, and fields girt about with hedges. On the 
south bank not a solitary farm is visible, nor a hedge, 
only clustered cottages, and the land laid out in strips. 
The distinction is older than might be supposed. Caesar 
says of the Nervii, a Belgic people, that ^ against attacks 
of horsemen from olden times they have been wont to 

Peasant Proprietors, 99 

protect themselves by cutting down tender trees and 
weaving the branches, so that the countless twigs, inter- 
laced with thorn-bushes and other shrubs, might make a 
hedge not only impenetrable to the foot, but even to the 
eye.' ' Csesar was a soldier, and viewed everything from a 
military point of view. The hedge to him was a military 
defence, and nothing more. As a soldier he hated it. 
Varus did not Ml before the Germans in the Teuto- 
burger Wald, but west of it, among the Westpbalian 

Tacitus says that the people of Grermany (meaning 
the free Saxons whom he had seen north of the fihine) 
' do not live in towns. They cannot endure houses in 
close proximity to each other. Scattered and separated, 
they settle where attracted by a spring, a pasture, or a 
grove. The villages are not arranged in our manner [the 
Somano-Celtic] with imited, dependent buildings. Each 
surrounds his house with a garth, from fear of fire or from 
ignorance of how to build. They do not even use stones 
or tiles, but employ a common material without show or 
value [the Devonshire co6] and thatch.' ' 

On the other hand, Gsssar says of the Suevi (the 
Swabians) : ' They have no private and separate fields,' and 
^none have fixed fields and proper boundaries, but the 
magistrates and princes in assembly annually divide the 
ground in proportion and in place among the people, 
changing the arable land every year.'* 

Tacitus was only personally acquainted with the Saxon 
portion of Germany north of the Bhine, but from hearsay 
he gives an account of the Swabians : ' The serfs are not 
employed as ours, on work distributed among them. On 

* De BeUo OalMeo, i\, 17. His description applies exactly to the 
Westphalian * Knick.' 

« German. 16. » Be Bella Qattxco, iv. 1» and vi. 22. 

H 2 

lOO Germany y Present and Past. 

the contrary, each occupies his own house and has his own 
hearth. The lord lays on him a trihute of com, cattle, 
and stufif [flax] ; slavery goes no further.' He adds that 
the lands are held by the farmers in common, and the 
fields occupied in rotation. * They change their tillage- 
land annually, and let much lie fallow ; . . . they do Tiot 
hedge their meadows nor water their gardens, and they 
cultivate only com.' ' 

Here we have a rough sketch of a condition of farming 
which has survived to the present day in Middle and South 
Germany, with only slight modifications. 

When Germany was first colonised, the population was 
small, settlements sparse, and there was land in abundance 
to satisfy every necessity. The requirements of the 
colonists were simple and easily met, the chase was 
yielding, the soil fresh and apparently inexhaustible, the 
rivers and lakes teemed with fish. There was at first no 
landed property. A family settled on a suitable spot in a 
valley, by the water — even on the water {Pfahlhauten) — 
where the wild deer would come to drink, and a net let 
down from the platform would draw up a breakfast. 
Round the settlement the best soil was broken up, and 
flax and corn were cultivated. The rest of the land as far 
as the forest was the common inark, where aU might 
pasture their short-horned oxen. 

The virgin earth yielded harvest after harvest through 
long years. But at length it became exhausted, and the 
crop did not answer the demands of the tiller. Then the 
settlement was dissolved, the family migrated, and re- 
peated its experiments and experiences on new soil. But 
in the meantime the family had increased. The sons 
separated and founded homes for themselves, generally in 
the neighbourhood of the paternal settlement, and when 

* Germun, 26, 2^, 

Peasant Proprietors. loi 

that moved migrated with it. From the Family sprang 

the Stock, and from the Stock the Folk. All social 

development issues from the patriarchal conception of the 

family ; but it is only when the basis has broadened to 

cover a large tract, and involve a multitude, that the 

Folk emerges upon the stage of history. 

As population increased boundaries were created by 
the necessity of fixing limits to prevent incessant feud. 
A cluster of related families formed a ^Gemeinde,' a 
cluster of Gemeinden made a Gau or a Mark. When a 
Folk became too niunerous for its confines, the overflow at- 
tacked another Folk. If the assailants failed they disap- 
peared ; if they triumphed they enslaved the conquered, and 
assumed the rights and privileges of freemen. Rapidity 
of growth of populations made migration a difliculty. 
The land already exhausted was returned to, and found to 
have recovered itself while left fallow. The only confines 
that existed at first were those of the Folk. The next to 
be traced were those of the Gemeinde — the Commune. The 
parish is the English division, but the German is com- 
munal and not ecclesiastical. The Gemeinde was a com- 
munity of families allied in blood — an expansion of one 
family holding land in common. The next stage was the 
distributing of arable land among the householders, and 
the marking off of each portion as appropriated. In 
frivourable situations families increased more rapidly than 
in others, and the sons settled near their fathers' hearths. 
Thus the village came into existence. But where the 
soil was not rich enough to allow of this — was rocky or 
sandy — there dispersion was compulsory. In such situations 
one son alone remained under the parental roof, perhaps 
the eldest, most generally the youngest; and the rest 
separated and sought their fortunes elsewhere. 

The great swarms of Saxons and Angles who came to 

I02 Germany, Present and Past, 

Britain and conquered it, were the elder sons of the house- 
holds leaving the parental hive to seek their fortunes else- 
where ; the youngest son remaining with his father to 
succeed him in the byre and inherit his flocks and herds. 
We hear of periodical migrations of great peoples. In 
most cases the migrations were not of the whole race, 
but only of the sons who could not be supported at home. 
The Montavun Thai contains a population three times as 
much as the soil and produce of the valley can support. 
Every spring a dense swarm of men and girls issues from 
the narrow gorge above Bludenz and disperses over Swit- 
zerland and France. The men work the summer through 
as masons in France, the maids as waitresses in the Swiss 
inns. In winter they return to their rocky home with 
pockets well lined with gold. In early days there was 
no demand for masons and kellnerins ; when the young 
people swarmed out, it was to conquer or be killed ; the 
pastures of the Alps of Montavun could support at home 
but one son and one daughter. This, on a large scale, is 
the history of the migrations of the Saxons, Angles, 
Franks, &c. 

Among the Suevi (the Swabians) the whole Gemark- 
ung, or land belonging to a Gemeinde, remained common 
property, cultivated by the whole village ; but among the 
Saxons the sous migrated, and one alone remained to 
inherit the parental house. There was reason for this. 
On the great plain of North Germany the land is sandy, 
peaty, and poor. It cannot support a dense population. 
There must be periodical swarms or devastating famines. 
But in the South and Middle of Germany it is not so. 
The richer land allows of the growth of population on it. 
It admits of extensive tillage. Therefore the poor land 
instituted the custom of one son inheriting and the rest 
dispersing ; and the rich land nourished all at home with 

Peasant Proprietors. 103 

impartial kindness. Thus inexorable necessity established 
the aristocratic theory of the tenure of land prevalent 
among the Savons. Nature herself determined the opposite 
laws of inheritance which still goVem the holding of land 
in the North and South of Germany : developed in one part 
the farm with its homesteads, fields^ and hedges, and in 
another formed the village with its common-lands and 
Oewannen ; created two systems of fanning, the KoppeU 
and the HufenrwirthscliafU 

Among the Franks, Alemanns, and Swabians, the 
communal system was universal, except where the soil 
was too poor to allow of it. Thus, in the dry table- land 
of Bavaria, in parts of the Black Forest, and in the 
Bavarian Alps, we find the close property entailed hard 
by land held in common and land equally divisible. At 
first, the whole Gemarkung was the common property of 
all the households in a Gemeinde. But after a while, as 
already said, the arable land was divided between the 
heads of the village households, to be held by them a 
certain length of time. Then it was allowed to fall back 
into fallow, and another portion of pasture was appropriated 
and marked off for tillage. By degrees there came to be 
system in this change. Liarge portions of the common 
land were marked off and allotted for tillage in regular 
rotation. The land beyond the marks remained conmion 
(Allmand or AUmend).^ At Gersbach, in the Baden 
Schwarzwald, for instance, the tillage land to this day is 
all conmion. Every year a portion is allotted to each 
village householder who can establish an ancestral claim 
to it, and is by him cultivated for three years ; at the 


1 Some writers snppoBe the Alemanni were so called from their sys- 
tem of landed holdings, from the * AUmend.' This I doubt ; I suspect 
the Alemanni derived their name from being a mixed people of Swabians, 
conquered Celts, Wends, and Rhaetians. 

I04 Germany^ Present and Past. 

expiration of this time it becomes again common property, 
and he receives by lot a fresh piece of arable land. In 
the high land on the Hundsriicken and on the spurs of 
the Eifel, J|ands are fresh assorted among the village com- 
munity at intervals of a certain number of years. In the 
Altmark all the land is common ; and the heads of the 
households assemble under the presidency of the village 
constable (Schulz) every evening to decide what agricul- 
tural work is to be carried on the following day. 

Among the Swabians and Alemanns, as the population 
grew, the time of rotation was reduced to a minimum of 
three years. The moveable landmarks dividing the 
several allotments became permanent, and every house- 
holder received as many parcels of land as there were 
divisions for rotation of crops — Le. three. Thus arose the 
three-field system, so universal in South and Mid Ger- 
many. After a while the tillage land in cultivation 
proved insufficient for the growing population; it was 
found necessary to reclaim more of the common land. 
The reclaimed portion was again divided into three, and 
then subdivided among the householders in parallel strips, 
so that each strip might enclose some of the best and 
worst sorts of soil. After another long interval there 
ensued a third enclosure and allotment. Then perhaps a 
fourth ; till in some parishes the whole of the AUmend was 
taken in and distributed as private property. All these 
appropriations are marked off in long strips, called 
Gewannen or Gewende ; and as they were made at long 
intervals and by lot, it generally happens that the strips 
of land belonging to a peasant holder lie scattered all over 
the parish. If one were to go into a nursery after a child 
has been cutting up coloured papers to twist into spills, 
one would see on the floor, strewn with strips of red, blue, 
yellow, and green, a map of the lie of fields belonging to 

Peasant Proprietors. 105 

as many bauers in a South German parish. But the 
majority of Gemeinden have not yet appropriated all their 
common land. They have at all events their forest and 
pasture. But they have also Allmend, which is in tillage, 
but not appropriated. It still belongs to all, and has no 
happy lot. In some parishes it is let, and the rent goes 
into the common box or vestry account. In other parishes 
it is given for life to the oldest inhabitant ; in others it 
goes by turns to the heads of the community for fixed 
terms of years. Whichever way it is disposed of, the com- 
mon saying holds good, ^ Gesammt-gut, Verdammt-gut ' 
(common property is accursed property), for it is racked 
out by its temporary tenant. In Westphalia, portions of 
the Allmend, there called Vohden, are given to bauers for 
from four to six years ; at the end of which time the land 
falls back into common property, and is then so exhausted as 
to be unable to grow anything. It is bad also for the tem- 
porary tenant. Whilst he holds the land he is obliged to 
have, say dx horses. When he gives it up he must reduce 
his number to two. After a lapse of a few years he gets 
another grant of common land, and must again buy more 
horses. Thus there is incessant buying and selling. Pre- 
cisely like the Vohden of Westphalia are the Wildfelder of 
the Spessart, land reclaimed from forest, the SchefFelland 
in the Eifel, the Torffelder in Waldeck, and the Eggarten 
in Switzerland and Swabia. Till quite recently it was 
not unusual in Baden for the common-land tillage to 
change tenants every three years, and for the Allmend 
meadows to change every year. 

Many villages still have common forest, and each 
householder in the parish has a right to so many Klaftem 
of firewood from it. Such reckless ruin has been wrought 
through improvidence in devastating woods, that the 
various Governments in Germany have been forced to 

io6 Germany^ Present and Past. 

interfere ; and now no man may cat down timber that has 
not been marked by the forester. In their eagerness to 
be rich, and indifference to the requirements of posterity, 
the peasants were sweeping away all the forests of Ger- 
many, to torn the wood into cash and the soil into tillage. 

The pastures which were common land have fared 
worse than the woods, which have attracted and secured 
the protection of Government. Common pasture has in 
most places been reclaimed and appropriated, and turned 
into tillage. As there are no hedges, and the strips of 
land belonging to each &rmer are not much wider than a 
good-sized room, it is impossiUe to feed cattle on them. 
Consequently, not cattle only, but sheep also, are stall-fed. 
Stall-fed sheep bear little wool, and their mutton is 

The abolition of the pastures has made the rearing of 
crops take the place of the rearing of cattle. Yet, 
wherever a fiirmer has cattle and a dairy, he is well off; 
a bauer with only tillage is always poor, and generally in 

As has been shown, where villages of peasant pro- 
prietors exist, there the property of each is scattered all 
over the parish. The further subdivision and distribution 
of the property is effected by the Suevo-democratic law of 
equal partition among all children, male and female, 
common in Hesse, Thuringia, the Rhenish Franks, the 
Swabians and Alemanns of Wiirtembe^, part of Bavaria, 
Baden, and German Switzerland. Tet even there econo- 
mic reasons often prevent it. Aloft on a mountain slope 
sits a comfortable iarm, with its alps and home meadows, 
which one son will inherit. Below in the plain is a 
village of tillers and growers of grain dividing their little 
parcds into minuter particles among their children* 
Yet the rich mountain bauer attends the same parish 

Peasant Proprietors. 107 

church as the poor peasants of the plain. Necessity forced 
the owner of the Alpine farm to break through the rule of 
his race, and bequeath the pasture-land and herds to one 
son, and send forth the others into the wide world to seek 
their fortunes. No such necessity existed in the plain, 
where the land was rich, and a man can subsist on the 
produce of half-a-dozen acres. 

In North Germany the land belongs to the nobility 
and to yeomen farming their own estates. There we have 
the isolated farm {Einzelhof^ Einodhof). The lines of 
demarcation between the two systems — the aristocratic 
and the communal — can be drawn exactly. The limits, 
beginning from the north-east, are from the Marches of 
Bremen along the Weser to fiinteln ; from thence over 
the Lemgo and the sources of the Lippe to Lippe, by 
Hamme, Plettenburg, Attendom, Drolshagen, to Siegburg 
and Miilheim ; then the line crosses to the right bank of 
the Rhine at Neuss, and goes by Erkelenz and Heinsberg 
to the Mouse. All west of this line the land is held in 
close properties, and is cultivated by farmers not living in 
villages, but in their scattered houses, as in England. 
Every farm {Bof) is surrounded by its farmyard and its 
ranges of fields. Several scattered farms form a Bauer- 
sckaft^ which generally bears the name of the oldest and 
most honourable Hof. This Hof is first in rank among the 
farms. In it the yeomen of the Bauerschaft assemble and 
debate on the affairs of their society — decide on marriages, 
patch up quarrels, and strike bargains. Formerly these 
assemblies exercised judicial powers, and could pronounce 
and carry out capital sentences. It was from them that 
the Holy Vehm arose. 

The decisions of the assembly were called Bauer- 
sprachen or Bauergerichten. The head £Eirm was called 
the Bichthof, or Court of Judgment, or simply the Oberhof, 

io8 Germany^ Present and Past. 

a& chief farm. Its proprietor bore the proud title always 
given him of Hauptmami.^ 

It will be seen that the present division of the land in 
Germany is the result of a process of development reaching 
back to prehistoric times — a process of regular growth till 
the time of Charlemagne ; but it has been hindered, de- 
layed, and even thrown back during the last thousand 
years by the growth and pretensions of feudalism. 

In Germany it is always possible to distinguish the 
close farm, Koppdwi/rthachaft^ from the scattered divisible 
properties of the peasant owners in villages. The first 
exist in North Germany, and here and there as islands — 
one may say oases — in the midst of other lands ; some the 
remains of free peasant estates of ancient dale, others the 
creation of nobles or the Church, most of which have 
now fallen into the hands of bauers. Wherever they exist 
they are conspicuous for superior cultivation of the soil 
and a better stock of cattle. The land in the hands of 
large farmers supports, as we shall see presently, fewer 
hands on the acre, but more in the aggregate. 

Peasant properties are almost always broken up into 
many scattered strips, and rarely lie together. 

Villages of peasant proprietors are of three sorts. One 
sort is a street of houses ; such, for instance, as Denzlingen, 
in Baden, some two miles long. Each house heads a strip 
of land, the width of the house and offices. This strip is 
divided into sections. Close to the house are orchard and 
vegetable garden ; beyond is arable land, outside that 
meadow, and at the verge is wood. Such villages are 
frequently met with in the Schwarzwald, Odenwald, 
Oberbayem, and between the Lippe and the LiLneburger 

But usually the village lies in the middle or at the 

^ See, for a sketch of Wefitphalian farm-life, Immermaim*s Oherkof, 

Peasant Proprietors. 109 

edge of the parish, always by the water and where the 
best soil is foand. The houses are rarely built so close to 
one another that there is not room for vegetable gardens, 
paddocks, and orchards among them. The orchards round 
a village, and the cherry-trees along the road, are occa- 
sionally common property. The fruit, when gathered, is 
subdivided among the households. In the immediate 
neighbourhood of the village is always a portion of the 
best land bounded oif from the rest, kept for most careful 
cultivation, well manured, and used as vegetable gardens. 
Outside this is the tillage {AclcefrUmhdC). The whole of 
this, without exception, is divided into a number of 
Qewannen^ each of which also contains a number of sub- 
divisions. The Grewannen vary greatly in length from 30 
to 1,000 yards and more, but run, on an average, 200 
yards. The longer the strips the narrower is their relative 
width. It is most rare for a single proprietor to hold a 
whole G-ewanne ; each bauer has usually only a strip, a 
sixteenth or twentieth, of the Gewanne in one place, and a 
sixteenth or twentieth of a Gewanne elsewhere. The width 
of these subdivisions naturally varies. Some in the 
Khenish Pfalz are only a yard wide. I have measured 
a good many in Baden, and have found them frequently 
as narrow as seven yards — i.6. width in which to turn a 
plough — sometimes only three yards. As a general rule, 
the strips are rectangular. 

The traveller in South Germany can scarcely have failed 
to notice the Gewannen parted from each other by footpaths, 
and their subdivisions by trenches or stones. Except on 
steep hillsides, where for convenience of ploughing the 
Gewannen are ranged horizontally, they are generally so 
laid out as to give the owners equal shares of good and 
inferior soil. Where there is diversity of soil, great 
variation in the direction and thape of the Gewannen is 

I lo Germany, Present and Past. 

observable. When one set of Grewannen falls at right 
angles on another set, that strip on which the heads im- 
pinge is called the Anwende ; it is that on which the 
ploughs turn, and it is that, in consequence, on which the 
best soil accumulates. But as it also suffers from the 
same cause, it always stands in the village land-book as 
less than it really is — a &ct of some importance in the 
event of sale or exchange. 

Only of late years have roads and paths of access been 
made to the several strips of land. Formerly the main 
road alone was kept up by the parish, and right of way 
across the land of neighbours was stringently ruled. It 
was permitted only at certain seasons, so that a bauer 
could not always obtain access to his property. 

There are villages of a third sort, which must be briefly 
noticed. In the Westerwald, for instance, the face of the 
country is studded with innumerable little villages of from 
six to ten houses, and from forty to fifty inhabitants, each 
with its school and church and Bathhaus. These villages 
sprang up in a very natural way. When fresh common 
land was enclosed, the new families for whom it was taken 
in set up their cottage-farms near the ^ new take * to save 
having to walk far to their work. In the early Middle 
Ages the whole country was covered with these little 
daughter-villages. The large village was i^ later phase of 
peasant life. When an old chronicler like Hermann the 
Cripple relates that * on July 3, 875, the village Eschbom 
was so wrecked by a storm that every trace of it vanished,' 
he alludes, no doubt, to some such humble collection of 
half-a-dozen houses. But the feuds of the Middle Ages 
forced the bauers to flock together for protection, and 
seek shelter under the walls of a castle or a convent, or at 
all events of a massive church tower. The site of many 
an old hamlet then deserted is pointed out. Such are the 

Peasant Proprietors. iii 

^ wiiste Marken,' the deserted marches noted in the 
archives of every State since the fourteenth century. For 
instance, in the terrier of the house of Wiesenburg, a 
feudal tenure of 40,000 acres in East Prussia, in 1575, 
nineteen wiiste Marken are noted, and it says: 'These 
villages must have existed in times before mind, as the 
fields, and even the homesteads, are overgrown with oak 
and beech three hundred years old.' In the Rhenish 
Palatinate every little swell in the ground was once 
crowned by its village ; now only the names remain to tell 
where once they stood. 

When the dwellers in these hamlets crowded into 
large villages, they kept their land, but lived at a distance 
from it. By marriage and purchase they acquired other 
bits of ground in other parts of the Gremarkung; their 
children divided the parental acres and united them to 
other inheritances ; and thus ensued the most marvellous 
distribution of property in patches and shreds all over a 

The average size of a strip or piece of arable land 
possessed by a bauer is naturally very variable. In some 
places, where they scarce exceed two Aren^^ the owner of 
twenty hectares (about 50 acres) will have some 1,000 bits 
of land distributed over the whole surface of the parish. 
Such is the case on the Main and the Middle Bhine. On 
the Upper Bhine, on the other hand, the average size of a 
field is from twelve to fifteen Aren ; in Bavaria, thirty Aren. 
In Baden it has been fixed by law so as not to include less 
than a quarter of a Morgen,' or about a quarter of an acre. 
Elsewhere it is unregulated. 

1 1 Are •- 100 square metres -» 1 19*603 square yards. 

100 Aren » 1 Hectare. 
1 Hectare «■ 2*471 English acres. 
> A Morgen in Baden is » 0*3600 Hectare. 

112 Germany^ Present and Past. 

The three-course system of farming is aknost the only 
one possible in peasant communities. In most of them 
the arable land is divided by immemorial invariable 
custom into three portions — the Fdd^ FluVy and Zelg — the 
winter, the summer, and the fallow field. We can see in 
almost every South G-erman parish farming as it was 
when the Gemarkung was first divided up. Century after 
century has passed, new vegetables have been introduced 
— roots, tobacco, hops — but the system has remained 
unaltered. The arable land changes y6ar by year in 
rotation of three. Till the feudal system was abolished, 
this method of farming could not be altered, as the 
charges on the land were computed by it. But, though 
the tithing of the crops has ceased to be exacted, it is not 
much easier to work a change in the three-course system, 
so hampered is the fiarmer by the rights of his neighbours, 
and the danger he incurs of being sued for trespass or 
damage should he break the customary routine. If a 
property does not abut on a main road — and this is only 
the case with a few — the owner is laid under the yoke of 
old custom, and cannot adopt a more rational system, for 
he cannot get to his land except at the customary times. 
Consequently, continual cultivation is only found in large 

The meadows (Wiesen, Matten) as a rule follow the 
course of the streams, but often lie on dry soil, as on hills 
and the rough groimd that breaks in upon tillage-land. 
The proportion borne by meadow to tillage is very im- 
portant. It varies from : 1 or from 3:1. Almost 
without exception, as already stated, in the latter case 
the bauers are in flourishing circumstances, and in the 
former are in debt and in the hands of the Jews. Meadow 
land, like arable laud, is parcelled out. 

But the greatest subdivision is found among the vine- 

Peasant Proprietors. 1 1 3 

yards. Of these the majority of portions are less than an 
Are^ say ten rods. The peasants possessing vineyards are 
almost always in comfortable circumstances. 

Pasture land is generally common land. But in 
some places it is parcelled out in strips like the meadow 
and tillage. I have seen a whole family watching 
three sheep and a cow whilst grazing, to prevent their 
trespassing upon a neighbour's pasture, there being no 
hedges, but an invisible line drawn between two stone 
p^s to separate the estates. Such parcelled pastures are 
common in the Schwarzwald. It is difficult to overrate 
the waste of time and trouble which they entail, and 
which they divert from the tillage land. 

The average size of a peasant's property can hardly be 
given. In fertile districts an estate of seventy acres is rare, 
and a bauer with such a property would be looked up to 
as a man of wealth. Where the land is poor, it is 

Anything like a compact ferm or estate in Mid and 
South Germany is most rare. Even where land belongs 
to the gentry, it is in patches and parcels scattered here 
and there in and out among the strips belonging to the 
peasant proprietors. The landed gentry are therefore 
obliged to cultivate their ground in the same wretched 
manner as the bauers ; and it is only by means of ex- 
change, often at a sacrifice, or by purchase, often above 
its worth, that they have been able to throw their land 
together {Verh>ppdung\ and thus introduce a more 
rational system of agriculture. This is why, in Grermany, 
landed property pays worse than in England. In Eng- 
land the return is 2^ per cent., in Germany it is reckoned 
rarely to reach 2 per cent. Where land has been 
thrown together, it is always possible to let it, and a 
farmer (Pdckter) is generally glad to rent it, and will pay 
VOL. I. 1 

1 1 4 Germany t Present and Past. 

the rcnit and make more out of it for himself than he 
could have made out of his own land, free of rent, but 
dispersed over the Oemwrhing. These farms stand out 
as oases in a desert of bad agriculture. In North Ger- 
many, where large landed estates exist, there is no difficulty 
in making farms compact. In the large farms the soil 
yields better, and the cattle are of a superior kind ; but the 
small farms support the largest number of human heads. 
The small holder who has much tillage and little pasture 
has no capital to sink in the soil ; the number of cattle 
he maintains is insufficient to manure the land. If his 
crops fail one year, it is as much as he can do to scramble 
on to the next harvest : if the second be not unusually good, 
he falls into the hands of the Jews, who sell him up, take 
his land, and dispose of it at a price above its worth, for 
small parcels always fetch high figures as acconmiodation 
land to neighbouring holders. There is scarce a village 
without some Jews in it. They do not cultivate land 
themselves, but lie in wait, like spiders, for the fiedling 
bauer. The usual story of a small farmer's ruin is this. 
His second ox dies. He cannot plough without two, and 
he has not the money to buy one. A Jew lets him have 
an ox at a certain price, to be paid in instalments. When 
the Jew has thus put his little finger in at the door, the 
whole fist follows. Just as in England the land of small 
yeomen gets into the possession of country lawyers who 
lend them money in hard times, so does the land in 
Germany go to the Jew. But the Jew never keeps it. 
He sells it. Where there was wood he was wont to 
< stub ' it up and sell the ground as tillage, but Govern- 
ment has forbidden this, and made the practice penal.^ 

The subdivision of the land is such an impediment to 
good farming, and leads, when carried to extreme results, 

' In Bavaria with fine and imprisonment. 

Peasant Proprietors. 115 

to such a dead-lock, that the Goyernments in Germany 
have had to interfere at different times. 

In Baden, for instance, in 1760, and again in 1771, 
and in Speyer in 1753 and 1772, laws were passed 
forhidding the parcelling of arable land below ^ of an 
acre, garden ground below ^ of an acre, vineyards also 
below \ of an acre. In Nassau, in 1777, tillage might not 
be reduced below \ an acre, and garden plots below \ acre«. 
By law of 1839 the minimum of arable landed property 
was fixed at 50 rods, of meadow at 25, and of garden at 
15. In Darmstadt in 1834 the minimum of subdivision 
of bad land that was turned by the plough, was fixed at 
400 square Klafter,^ of good land 200, of meadow 100, of 
vineyard and orchard 50, of garden 20. In Weimar, since 
1862, fields of one acre and meadows of \ an acre may not 
be legally cut up. In Bavaria a law of 1834 forbade the 
subdivision of land below a rateable value of a Gulden 
(l8. 9c2.) In Dalecarlia, in Sweden, a farmer has occasion- 
ally 300 parcels of ground distributed over a district four 
miles square, and only the head of the family knows 
where they all are. On the Bhine there are peasant 
properties of twenty acres divided into 120 scattered 
patches. At Hohenheim is an agricultural college for 
Wiirtembergers, founded by Government with the object 
of raising the character of farming in the kingdom. But 
it has been found that the pupils will not buy land in 
Wiirtemberg, parcelled out as it is, and prefer migrating 
to North Germany, where they can rent close farms. 
*What educated man,' asks List, ' will buy a property 
broken into a hundred bits in closest contact with 
blunderheaded, cantankerous boors ? ' 

The mischief wrought by distribution has repeatedly 
attracted the attention of Government, and various 

> A Klafter is about 6 ft. 
I 2 

1 1 6 Germany, Present and Past. 

attempts have been made to rearrange scattered peasant 
properties, so as to SsLcilitate KoppelAmrthsckaft. 

In 1617 rearrangements of property were effected in 
a great number of parishes in Bavaria. Fresh rearrange- 
ments were made in 1791, 1810, 1817, 1818, 1821-1826, 
1838-1860. In 1861 a law was passed to fisudlitate re- 
distribution of property in parishes ; but as such a redis- 
tribution could only be made when approved by a majority 
in a parish reckoned by heads, not by acreage,^ it has 
remained a dead letter; for Koppehvirthachaft is an 
advantage to the large proprietor, but not to the Uttle 
holder, as the scattered patches of land fetch more than 
they are worth, and the small proprietor keeps a sale always 
in his eye. 

In Brunswick, during the last thirty-five years, ^ Fer- 
koppdung^ — the throwing together of properties — ^has 
been carried out energetically, and is now nearly complete. 
In the south of Hanover, property is in the hands of little 
owners as in Mid and South Grermany. From 1820 till 
1850 Verkoppdung was optional, but since then it has 
been made compulsory wherever a majority, reckoned by 
acreage, agrees to it ; all small holders not being allowed 
a vote, as being invariably obstructives. In the Grand- 
Duchy of Weimar the Prussian system, which we shall 
presently describe, has been pursued, and the land every- 
where redistributed. Since Hesse-Cassel has been taken 
by Prussia, redistribution has been carried out there with 
a high hand. 

In Wiirtemberg and Hesse nothing has been done to 
stay the evil. But the Prussian Government has gone 
vigorously to work with Hohenzollem and has recast the 

" Tlmt is, where the owner of one Morgen ezeicises one vote, and 
the owner of ten Morgan ezercises ten votes. 

Peasant Proprietors. 1 1 7 

There are three systems of Verkoppelung : the oldest is 
the Nassau system ; the most effectual but most despotic 
is the Prussian ; the Baden plan is a combination of both. 
It will be sufficient if we describe briefly the first two. 

In Prussia, if one quarter of the proprietors in a 
parish ask for a redistribution, the Government proceed at 
once with the rearrangement. In Nassau and Baden the 
Government will not act till the consent of a majority of 
holders has been obtained. 

The Nassau experiment dates from the close of last 
century, that of Baden from 1856. 

In Nassau, when a parish has to be recast, it is visited 
by a surveyor and a special commissioner, who take an 
exact survey of the land. Then the soil throughout is 
tested and valued, and registered in a graduated scale. 
When this has been done, every landholder prefers his 
claim, and the claims are balanced and registered. The 
sunp^yor next lays down a network of paths and roads over 
the whole parish, so as to allow of every proprietor being 
able at any time to obtain access to his own land. When 
this is done, the redistribution of the land takes place. 
Every claim is considered and satisfied. Where there are 
equal claims, the lot decides between them. 

This system is costly : the cost varies from ZL to 6L per 
hectare, exclusive of the expense of making the new roads; 
and the plan is not altogether satisfactory. It prevents 
much litigation, and allows of a farmer breaking through 
the old three-course Cfystem, by giving each man a way to 
his own field, but it does not tend to consolidation of 

The surveyor finds that Bauer Bengel has originally 
ten lots of soil of class A, five lots of class B, fifteen of 
class C, and so on. When the redistribution takes place, 
he takes care to give him the same number of lots of the 

1 18 Germany^ Prcsemt and Past. 

same qulitj of aail ; aod as the different qualities of soil 
lie all orer the parish, it is found that after the readjust- 
ment has taken |rfaoe, lands are little less scattered than 
they were before. 

The Pruasian system is different. There is a special 
Board for rearrangtonent iA land, and when application is 
made to it, it takes the matter in hand in a somewhat 
despotic manner. A special commissi<Mier is sent do?ni to 
hear, and ocmipare, and register claims. When the pro- 
prietors hare made their claims they are no more oon- 
STilted. The sur¥ey<H' goes to work, maps the parish and 
tests the soils. Then the net value of every lot is esti- 
mated according to the present system of husbandry. The 
rate-book is next consulted, and each man^s claim is con- 
sidered by that, checked off and controlled. The roads and 
paths are then thrown as a net over the whole Oemarkung^ 
crossing each other at right angles. Then follows the re- 
allotment of land, which takes place without any regard to 
former arrangement, and is simply determined by the net 
value of the several claims. From this it follows that where 
claims are equal in amount, one man will have less good soil 
and more of an inferior quality, and the other more good 
soil and little poor land. 

The object held in view by the Prussian system is the 
consolidation of property. When the whole parish has 
been redistributed, staked out and docketed with the 
names attached to each lot, then, and not till then, are the 
claimants allowed to express their opinion on the re- 
arrangement. Their objections are listened to, weighed, 
and if considered well-founded, some modification in the 
arrangement is conceded. The cost of the Prussian plan 
is about half that of the Nassau system, from 21. 4«. to 
U. 8s. per acre. That the parcelling and scattering of a 
faun all over a parish is an unmixed evil can scarcely 

Peasant Proprietors. 119 

be doubted. It leads to a great waste of time, labour, and 
manure. Half a day is sometimes consumed in going 
from one patch of land to another, and the droppings of 
the horses and oxen fall on the road instead of dressing the 
ploughed land. 

But the distribution of the land among peasant pro- 
prietors is not either an unmixed evil or an unqualified 
advantage. The advantage or disadvantage of subdivision 
of property is a difficult question, because it is a mixed one. 

The first and most important question raised is, how 
does the system a£fect the population ? This is not easy 
to answer. In the case of equal subdivision, or of one son 
inheriting, and the other children being paid off, the result 
is the same — a large family is a heavy charge on the farm. 
A bauer to whom I expressed my surprise at his and his 
neighbours having only two or three children, answered la- 
conically, ^ We rear as many as our farms will bear. X - 
(a cotter) has a dozen children : he is so poor that he 
can afford it.' The huge families of our labourers are not 
known in Germany, at all events among the bauers. I 
confess to an uneasy feeling at seeing the great number of 
graves of babes in the churchyards; there is no doubt 
that the death-rate of children in Germany is very much 
higher than it ought to be. In France, where the law of 
equal subdivision prevails, it is found materially to affect 
the increase of the population. 

In Canada, oat of 10,000 inhabitants, there are 4,289 children under 15. 

United States „ „ 3,173 „ 

Hungary ^ »» 3»700 „ 

Scotland „ „ 3,668 „ 

England and Wales „ „ 3,611 », 

Germany „ », 3,449 „ 

France h >f 2»706 », 

There are districts of Germany almost as prolifiq in 
children as Canada, and also such as are only a little less 

1 20 Germany^ Present and Past. 

barren than France. To the first belong the Prussian 
plain, Bromberg, Marienwerder, Koslin, Posen, and 
Oppeln ; to the latter belong the districts of Upper and 
Lower Bavaria, Swabia, Middle Franconia, with the Donan 
circle in Wiirtemberg and the district of Constance in 
Baden, and, above all, Lorraine. Curiously enough, the 
first district is distinguished by its weakness in the number 
of productives, and the latter by its strength in pro- 
ductives — 

In Marienwerder, oat of 10,000 inhabitants, there are 3,980 children 

nnder 16» 
Eoslin „ „ 3,914 „ 

Bromberg „ „ 4,006 „ 

Oppeln », „ 3,945 „ 

Whereas in the South of Germany — 

In Upper Bavaria, oat of 10,000 inhabitants, there are 2,761 children 

onder 15. 
Lower Bavaria ,, „ 8,031 ,• 

Upper Franconia 
Middle „ 
Lower „ 

Bavarian Swabia 

„ 3,426 „ 

I, ,y 3,204 „ 

I, „ 3,2o2 „ 

„ 2,896 

n 2,973 „ 

But owing to many and various causes, the population may 
be arrested in one place, and given occasion to grow in 
another, and I do not think it safe to draw a hasty con- 
clusion that the distribution of property should have 
affected this great difference. It may be influenced by 
laws prohibiting marriage without a competence to sup- 
port a family, such as prevailed till lately in Bavaria, or 
by the emigration of the productive population. 

Riehl says : * Where right of primogeniture among the 
peasants {Bauemmajorat) does not exist, the estate is 
generally put to lot among the children, so as to save the 

Peasant Proprietors. 121 

paternal inheritance from being broken up. Where the 
law interferes with the right of primogeniture or allotment, 
there we find the bauer circumvent the law. He will 
violate morality to secure his end. For instance, on the 
Lower Maine, where subdivision has flourished in great 
exuberance, I know a pair of solitary villages, which wage 
unflagging war with petty parcelling. It is an unheard-of 
thing in those villages for a marriage to yield more than 
two children. The communities are rich and thriving, and 
the pastors preach against the crying evil, but all in vain.* ' 
Ulmenstein, in 1827, said the same thing,' and Autenrieth, 
in 1779,^ gave painful particulars of the systematic way in 
which the population was kept down to avoid the breaking- 
up of small properties. In France, as is too well known, 
in marriage contracts it is not uncommon to specify how 
many children are to be reared. The unproductiveness of 
French marriages is almost solely the result of the law of 
equal subdivision. The peasant is under the same desire as 
the noble to keep his property tc^ether, and circumvents 
the law of the land by violation of the law of God. Mr. 
Boner, in his valuable book on Transylvania, says : ^ We 
have seen how the Wallach population has increased, out- 
numbering by far that of the Germans. How is it that 
these German colonists should thus dwindle away, instead 
of peopling the land with their race ? The man of sub- 
stance could not bear the thought of seeing his possessions 
divided, and as the patrimony could not be increased to 
provide amply for each member of a numerous family, the 
same obnoxious and objectionable causes, which in France 
check the increase of the population, were allowed to work 
here among the Saxon peasantry. One child got the house 

* Bid BurgerUehe Oeielliehafi. Stuttg. 1861, p. 68. 

* Ueher ft/nhe$oh/rtmkte Zerthmlbewkeit des Bodetu» Berlin, 1827. 

* Ueber Vertrennung der BavemgUter. Stuttg. 1779. 

122 Germany y Present and Past. 

and some land, and the other the remaining portion. Thus 
each got a goodly estate. Moreover, the Saxon could not 
accustom himself to give the surplus population of his 
village to the towns, the sons and daughters going into 
the world to make their way, and gaining their bread in a 
humbler sphere. Yet formerly it was not so. In early 
times the Saxons colonised new spots with the surplus 
population of their hamlets. There are villages where the 
population has remained stationaiy for a hundred and 
more years. In others, where originally every inhabitant 
was Grerman, with but a few Wallach huts outside the 
boundary, there is now hardly one Saxon left. This is the 
case at Dunesdorf, and the change has taken place since 
the childhood of men still living. There were, however, 
throughout Transylvania Saxon villages, whose inhabitants 
were riot free men, located on the manor of the Hun- 
garian noble. They were without land of their own, and 
poor, and had nothing to give their children in marriage, 
or to leave as a bequest. Yet just in these villages the 
Saxons were blessed with nimierous descendants. At 
Peschendorf the Saxons were all serfs formerly. Here it 
would be diflScult to find a household where there were 
only three children ; and they rejoice that it is so. But 
at St. Jacob, a free, rich village, close by, it would be 
equally difficult to find one with as many as three.' ^ 

It is precisely the same in the Palatinate, and also in 
Westphalia ; it is the same where the farmers leave their 
estate entire to one son, and where they split it among 
their children ; and I believe the foundation of the evil 
lies in a true and right principle, that each child should 
inherit as much as the other. Certain it is that the 
Grerman day-labourer has a swarm of children, and the 
bauer has few, and this is not a caprice of nature. 

' C. Boner: Trantylvania and iU ProducUt 1865, p. 272 »q. 

Peasant Proprietors. 123 

The subdivision of farms among many heirs has a bad 
effect on the agriculture. The live stock is deteriorating. 
The conunon pastures are now so few, that most sheep as 
well as cattle are stall-fed. In the valley of the Shine, 
from the Dutch frontier to the head of the lake of Con- 
stance, and all the high land admirably suited for sheep- 
farming, the Eifel, the Taunus, the Haardt, the Odenwald, 
the Vogesen, and the Black Forest, 170 sheep' to the 
English square mile are reared ; the average of oxen along 
the Bhine valley is, however, 430 to the English square 

Sheep living in warm stables, as already said, give little 
wool. The cows are used to give milk, and plough and draw 
the wain. They are of a poor lean quality. A poor ox eats 
as much as a good beast ; but the peasant cannot afford to 
buy animals with breed in them. Veal is eaten to an enor- 
mous extent in Grermany, for beef defies mastication unless 
boiled to rags. The peasant cannot afford to rear oxen 
for meat. Their services are needed for the plough. 
When &rms are divided, a couple of oxen take the place 
of a horse, and the live stock about the yard dwindle to 
pigs and poultry. 

Fallati mentions three farms in a Wiirtemberg parish, 
comprising together 152 acres. These farms, a few years 
ago, supported from 68 to 74 head of cattle. The three 
farmers died and their lands were divided among thirteen 
children, and on these thirteen little farms the number of 
cattle dropped to sixteen or seventeen.^ It is, moreover, 
impossible to make the land yield what it can, unless 
capital be expended on it. The soil is impoverished. It 
gets plenty of labour on it, but it demands other dressing 

1 Rhenish Provinces only 170, Baden 120, Rhenish Palatinate, 69. 
In England the average is 1,670. 

> Tabinger ZeiUchrift, 1845, p. 332. 

1 24 Germany, Present and Past. 

than the sweat of the brow. It never tastes lime, guano, 
nor superphosphate. Even the burning of clay is too costly 
an experiment on loamy soils. Stall-droppings alone 
restore to it a part of what is taken from it ; but as an 
insufficient number of cattle is kept, and as much manure 
is wasted on the roads in travelling from one patch of land 
to another, that part is small. But what Grermans do 
understand is the utilisation of the town soil. That is 
carefully cherished and distributed over the land within a 
radius of foxur miles of the town. 

In almost every parish are a large number of small pro- 
prietors, existing on the fragments of a parcelled farm. 
They have too little land to allow of their keeping a horse 
or oxen, consequently they have to depend on the great 
baiiers for the tilling of their land and the carting of their 
harvest. These little holders have to pay high for the hire, 
and they obtain what they desire often when too late in the 
season. They are behindhand with their ploughing, and 
their crops are not carried till bad weather has set in. An 
English labourer lives in luxury compared to these small 
farmers, who drag on in squalor and misery, bowed under 
debt to the Jew whp lies in wait to sell them up. 

In England, in good years an acre will produce on an 
average thirty bushels of wheat ; in Grermany the average 
is fourteen ; in the richest districts and most favourable 
years, little over twenty. Nor are the root crops good. 
Nothing tells the tale of how a land is &rmed better than 
the roots. The richest soil in Germany renders roots no 
better than are raised on some of the poorest soil in 
England. In England, we clean the ground from which 
com has been reaped by giving it a root crop. The small 
farmers of G-ermany till and till through the smnmer to 
elean the soil, but take nothing from it. 

The Tuniberg is built up of the richest soil of the 

Proprietors. 125 

Rhine valley. It is a range of inexhaustible heaped-up 
soil, the glacial mud of the Swiss mountains coating to a 
depth of finom fifty to a hundred feet a ridge of volcanic trap 
and scoria. In the hollows, and all along the Southern 
slopes of the Kaiserstuhl, similar mud (called Los) has been 
deposited, fine and impalpable as dust — the paradise of the 
ant-lion, which there makes its traps in myriads. Here 
the little fiurmers grow, in succession, potatoes, barley, 
and hemp, an exhausting course which would ruin the soil, 
underdressed as it is, were it not of inexhaustible fertility. 

On the ICaiserstuhl the little holders went on growing 
their wretched vines and expressing their sour wine year 
after year. At last a capitalist by good fortune succeeded 
in lajdng three or four farms together. He rooted up 
every vine, and imported fresh plants from Naples. For 
three years he reaped nothing. The outlay was great and 
there was no return. The fourth year he began to realise, 
and rapidly made a fortune. Now the Kaiserstuhl wine 
is the best on the Upper Bhine. Small holders are con- 
demned to go on in the old routine. They cannot sacri- 
fice a year's income to make an improvement, they cannot 
sink any money in the soil, but they will drop into it any 
amoimt of sweat. 

Mohl, who was no friend to patriarchal holding to- 
gether of property, complained despairingly of the con- 
dition to which subdivision of land was reducing the 
agriculture of Wiirtemberg. The little properties of a 
few acres he called ^cancers corroding the face of the 
country, the health of which can only be saved by heroic 
measures.* * 

An instance is given of a nut-tree, to which thirty 
persons had claims. When the nuts were gathered, they 
were parted into thirty lots. 

126 Germany^ Present and Past. 

In the Elsass plain, the mean size of a peasant estate 
is four hectares, from nine to ten acres, ^ La terre,' says 
Lavergne, ^ y est litt^ralement d&x)up^ en lami^res, qui 
se vendent a des priz fous.' ^ The easy transfer and ready 
sale for parcels of land has led to speculation which goes 
by the popular name of * Hofrnetzgerei ' (farm-butchery), 
carried on by the Jews. They buy a ferm of moderate 
size of the heirs of a yeoman, who will divide the inheri- 
tance equally among them, and chop it up into bits which 
are sold by auction. Spirits are freely distributed at the 
sale, the competition becomes lively, and the morsels sell 
for extraordinary prices. The Jew realises large profits. 
This speculation was becoming such a danger, that the 
Bavarian Government in 1852 passed a law punishing it 
with thpee months' imprisonment, and a fine of from 100 
to 1,000 florins. The Wiirtemberg G-ovemment in 1853 
was also forced to interfere, and forbid the sale of an estate 
of more than ten acres till three years have elapsed since 
its purchase. By Prussian law of the same year, no man 
can chop up and sell land till he has held it a twelvemonth 
in his own hands. But these laws do not prevent the 
racking out of the soil before sale, and they are easily and 
constantly evaded. 

In England, small proprietors of land rarely thrive, 
whereas yeomen on a moderate estate get on in life. The 
reason is that land must have capital laid out on it to 
msike it pay. In Germany, the experience of the bauers 
has formulated itself in proverbs. ^ Great estates,' they say, 
' nourish their man, and little ones devour themselves ; ' * 
and * a divided rood never comes to the fourth brood.' • 

> Jowmal des Economies, 1856, p. 181. 

s < Grosse Outer nahren ibren Mann : kleine zehren sich selbst 

* * Getheiltes Gut kommt nicht auf die vlerte BmU* 

Peasant Proprietors. 127 

The land now produces hardly two-thirds of what it might 
be made to yield if worked by men with capital. That 
means, it supports ten men where it might support fifteen. 
BfxJt it supports seven men on the land, whereas in the 
hands of a large farmer it would keep only five in em- 
ployment. Thus the same piece of land will hold to the 
sen! seven men, and feed three more in a city or engaged 
on a trade, which under a better system of farming would 
keep five men on the land and feed eight employed on 
other branches of industry. 

Tt may be questioned whether the general happiness of 
the country is not greater by so many being kept to agri- 
cultural work, who would otherwise be drudging in factories. 
I have no doubt about that in my own mind. For six 
months daily in a German town, I used to meet the 
market people with fresh sunny faces as they came in to 
their stalls, and the factory hands as they rushed by, with 
sodden and sullen countenances, to their dinners. But 
the commercial prosperity of a country and the sum of 
happiness of the people, I fear, vary in inverse ratio. 

A friend — a German — who has seen and lived among 
bauers and citizens, the tillers of the field and the toilers 
in the mill, said to me one day, ^ I doubt if there be a 
happier set of people under the sun than our peasants,' 
After a pause he added, ^ So long as they are out of the 
clutch of the Jew.' 

The artisan is restless and dissatisfied. He is mecha- 
nised. He finds no interest in his work, and his soul frets at 
the routine. He is miserable, and he knows not why. But 
the man who toils on his own plot of ground is morally 
and physically healthy. He is a freeman, the sense he 
has of independence gives him his upright carriage, his 
fearless brow, and his joyous laugh. The worker among 
machinery feels himself to be a slave, a slave bound to a 

12$ Germany, Present and Past. 

wheel, and this consciousness causes his moral deteriora- 
tion. The serf may love his master, but who can love a 
boiler ? In the town the brain is active. Like the pearl, 
it grows out of disease in the shell. In the country it 
lies latent, but muscle grows, and the lungs play like 
blacksmith^s bellows. 

The initiative must ever come from the town. The 
pagani are ever averse to the light, except the light of 
titles fatuL But the Bauerstand is a wholesome check 
on too rapid and one-sided development in civilisation. 
New ideas are given off in the town like sparks, from the 
clashing together of minds different yet equally hard, but 
the peasantry are not the tinder which they will fire. 
The amadou are the artisans. 

To the bauer new ideas are as hateful as rockets in a 
stackyard. ^ One is never too late to learn,' said the hag, 
* and she began to study witchcraft.' This is the answer 
he makes to every new suggestion. 

"WTien the Thirty Years' war broke the power of the 
nobles, and left waste places void of owners, the peasantry 
spread like a lichen noiselessly over the scars and obscured 
them. In old Wiirtemberg, then half the size of the 
present kingdom, there were left 250,000 acres of owner- 
less arable land, 40,000 acres of devastated vineyard, and 
40,000 acres of unclaimed meadow. The peasantry soon 
appropriated them all, and there was no one to say 
them nay. The sovereigns perceived that the bauers were 
their best support, and during the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth centuries removed one disability after another, till 
the Bauerstand became the most favoured in the land. The 
bauer is the great conservative element in Germany as in 
France. Against him the G-ovemment may always set its 
back. ^ G-esammt Gut est verdammt Gut,' is his answer to 
Social democracy. 

Peasant Proprietors. 129 

In 1848 the peasants rose at the call of the political 
clubs, but not for any political idea, solely for the removal 
of disabilities. When liberty of the press was decreed, 
they became suspicious, because the towns grew jubilant. 
They had their calendars, and who wanted more ? When 
told that a parliament was to be established, they inquired 
whether it was to consist of cavalry or of infantry. They 
exhausted their anger on the toll-gates. When they could 
lay hold of them, they burnt the mortgages on their lands, 
and were much disappointed that they might not also bum 
the Jews who held them. 

The German soldier is the Grerman bauer in uniform. 
After having crawled like a maggot about the paternal 
dungheap for eighteen years, he suddenly appears with 
wings and antennse. He is in uniform, and for three 
years flutters on the parade, in the beer-gardens, in the 
gallery at the theatre, and then he chrysalises into the 
old paternal bauer suit and the patriarchal ideas. When ^ 
the peasant boy is confirmed, he dons a new suit, made 
very long in the leg and body, and arms and tail. When 
the ceremony is over, the garments are folded up and put 
away again, to be assumed at his wedding. He has grown 
to fit them. So he has grown to fit the doctrines and pre- 
judices and doggedness of his class. He becomes a chry- 
salis, I said, on retiuning to the village from the barrack. 
The soldier's life has been a dream, nothing more ; and 
now he spins, and spins his cocoon for his Schatz and him- 
self and his eggs, burying himself in his domestic bliss 
more and more, deeper and deeper from the day. The 
Bauerstand is the arm, the muscle ; it is the good heart 
of the country ; but it is not, in any sense, its brain. 

TOL. I. K 

130 Germany^ Present mtd Past. 


This is mere moial babble— Milton, C&whm, 

The reader of ^ Greier-Wally,' if he is at all acquainted with 
ancient German literature, cannot fiedl to connect the 
wrestle of Joseph and Wally in the tavern with that of 
Qunther and Brunhild in the marriage chamber. The 
Tyrolese peasantess does not surrender her freedom without 
a fierce struggle, in the nineteenth century, any more than 
did the Queen of Qunther in the Nibelungen times. 
Whoever has attended a village wedding in the Black 
Forest, and has seen the bride chased by the bridegroom, 
and knows anything of early civilisation, discerns a reb'c 
of the bride-capture of primitive times. The speared 
bride among the Tartars is proud of her scars, but Tonelli 
^ with the bitten cheek ' in the Schwarzwald resented a 
recurrence to barbarous practice, and broke with her lover 
for marking her for life.^ 

Marriage law in Grermany has varied capriciously 
within two centuries, but G-erman opinion was formed by 
more than ten centuries of national law before it was 
influenced and disturbed by the introduction by jurists of 
Roman law. Ecclesiastical marriage, which only late 
became prevalent, throughout the Middle Ages was a 

* Aaerbach : Doffgnehiekten, l^ Band. 

Marriage. 1 3 1 

matter of conscience rather than of legal obligation. 
After the Reformation it became compulsory, but in 1873 
became again optional, and the Protestant pastors suddenly 
found that they were no longer called upon by their flock 
to unite them in the bands of wedlock. 

The introduction of civil registration has scarcely 
affected the marriages in England. In Crermany it has 
produced wholesale desertion of the religious ministration. 
The board of the Beamter is preferred to the Lord's table. 
If the Government had not come to the relief of the clergy, 
who drew a large part of their revenue from marriage 
fees, they would have been ruined by the change in the 

It is impossible to understand German ideas on mar- 
riage and explain this phenomenon, without a survey of 
the history of the marriage laws of the Fatherland. Such 
a survey will show us that, however capricious and change- 
able laws may be, Teutonic feeling on this important 
subject moves on steadily within its old banks. 

Verlobung in Germany is a very different thing from 
* engagement' in England. In both countries matrimony 
is made up of two ' moments,' contract and tradition, i.e* 
engagement {Verlobung) and marriage (Tra/uung); but 
with us, in accordance with Soman law, the last moment 
18 accentuated and contains the essence, whereas among 
Germans the first is the essential and emphatic trans- 

In entering on the relation in which engagement and 
marriage stand to one another, it is necessary to define 
terms. * Trauung' is not what we mean by betrothal^ though 
tlie words are etymologically identical. We must translate 
'Verlobung' by Betrothal, and * Trauung' by Marriage. 
We do not speak of those actually married as betrothed, 
nor of those engaged to be married as bride and bride- 

X 2 

132 Germany, Present and Past 

groom. Grermans do both. After engagement and till 
marriage, the maid and man are Braut and Brautigam, and 
when wedded cease to be thus entitled. 

It is curious to notice what confusion there is in terms 
on the popular tongue. Strictly speaking, betrothal, en- 
gagement, Verlobung is the desponsatio, aponaaZia^ of the 
Komans, and aponaua and sponsa are those promised to 
one another before they are given to one another. But the 
English spouse, the French Spauaej and the Spanish esposey 
are applied after marriage, and not before. So, in Ger- 
many, Gemahl, Gremahlin, mean engaged by word,^ but in 
common use are applied to those married. In Thuringia 
to this day the people do not distinguish by word one state 
from the other. Verlobter and Gemahl are used indis- 
criminately for betrothed and wedded. Originally, marriage 
among the Germans was simply the purchase of a woman. 
Down even till late in the Middle Ages 'ein Weib zu 
kaufen ' was the common expression for getting engaged. 
But the first laws which have been transmitted to us show 
that the idea of sale of the woman was gone ; another idea 
had taken its place — that of transfer of authority. A 
woman was always under ward : the natural holder of the 
wardship was the father ; at miarriage he made over this 
wardship to the husband. 

Wardship was called mundvumj and the guardian was 
called the Varmund. Betrothal was a contract of sale 
between the guardian and the suitor. The purchase-money 
was still called legally ^pretium pudlce^ — the price of 
the girl — ^but more generally Mundschatz (the value of 
the mundium) or WiUhum. 

These words must be remembered, as I shall have to 
use them freely. 

> From the old verb malOf to converse. The German Maail, mouth, is 
from the same root It is the organ of speech. 

Marriage. 1 33 

Bat the chief token of a change of opinion regarding 
marriage is visible in the fact that the Witthum was a 
fixed sum. It did not fluctuate with the state of the 
market ; it was not any longer the price of the girl, like 
the price of a slave, to be affected by her beauty or bodily 
vigour. It was legally fixed for all maids alike ; it was 
not her market value any more, but the theoretical value 
of the wardship ; and the authority exercised by father or 
husband over daughter or wife must be the same among 
rich and poor, beautiful and plain. 

Among the Salic Franks the mundium was estimated 
at 62^ solidij among the Kipuarii at 50, among the 
Alemanni at 40, among the Saxons as high as 300 solidi. 
In case of invasion and injury of authority it had to be 
compounded for, and the Wehrgeld was precisely the same 
in amount as the mundium. In early times the woman 
was never independent, she was always under a Vormund, 
a perpetual ward. The transfer of guardianship constituted 
marriage. The maid could no more dispose of herself 
than could a field, for she was never out of wardship. 
Consequently no agreement of marriage could legally be 
contracted with a woman alone. The contract must be 
made with the guardian. All that was allowed her in the 
sixth century was the right of veto. 

Again, according to German law, no verbal engage- 
ment is valid without a real transfer. A compact to sell 
a field or a cow is no compact unless' the price has been 
paid. The courts refused to allow of rights based on verbal 
agreement (cardooutiOf the Lombard fcJmla), though 
signed and sealed, unless there had been actual transfer. 
Consequently, the suitor was required to pay over to the 
legal guardian the price of the mundium, when he made 
the contract. The girl then and there, at the betrothal, 
became his property ; the rights over her became legally 

134 Germany, Present and Past. 

his, and he might enter on the exercise of them when he 
chose. If the bride {sponaa) died before she was delivered 
over to him, the guardian returned the money. ^ Breach 
of promise could not be made actionable unless the mun- 
dium had been paid.* 

But an obvious difficulty arose. The bridegroom had 
to pay down the mundium some time before entering into 
possession. He laid out capital without receiving his 
money's worth. In unsettled times men could not calcu- 
late on receiving their bread again after many days when 
they cast it on the waters. The object of purchase might 
die or depreciate. Consequently, would-be purchasers 
buttoned up their pockets, and the market was glutted 
with marriageable maids. The law was obliged to 
tolerate a compromise. Prepayment of the mundium 
was not exacted, and in its place the purchaser paid a 
handsel, or earnest money (Haftgeld, Draufgeld), the 
Soman arrha, called by the Lombards Launichild (Lohn- 
geld). At the present day in Grermany, if a servant be 
engaged, Haftgeld is paid, whereupon she is bound to her 
master : if it is not paid, she can get off her agreement. 
This is like the half-crown at English statute fairs, and the 
Queen's money which binds the recruit. This Haftgeld 
was exacted at a betrothal to clench the bargain ; it was 
generally spent in wine, whence it took the name of 
Weinkauf, or was given to the church or poor, and so was 
called the Gottespfennig. But this handsel did not, like 
the Boman arrha, strengthen a bargain, it clenched the 
bargain — there was no legal bargain without it. Among 

^ Edict, Rathar. c. 215 (ed. Blubme): — * Si quis puellam aut Tidoam 
Bponsatam habuerit (ix, betrothed to him) et contigerit casus at ipsa 
ante moriatur quAm a patre, aut qui mondium ejus potestatem babet, 
tradita fuerit> tunc meta (Le. price of mundium) qusa data fuerat ab 
illo sponso, reddatur ei, tantum quantum in ipsa meta dedit.* 

* Lex Wiiigath, iii. 4, 2. Zex Burffund. G2. 

Marriage. 135 

the Franks in the fifth century the handsel had already 
taken the place of the mundium at a hetrothal, and was 
fi.xed at a sou and a denier. When Clovis asked of 
Gundebald of Burgundy the hand of his sister and ward 
Clothild, he sent him by his messengers the requisite sou 
and denier. 

Simultaneously a change was effected in the destina- 
tion of the Witthum or mundium. This was to be paid 
when the bride was transferred to the husband's house — 
i.e. when he claimed his purchase. But instead of being 
paid to the guardian who relinquished his charge, it was 
held back to be paid, after the death of the husband, to 
the guardian of the widow for her support in widowhood. 
It was thought, not without reason, that the fair bride, 
who was a delight to the husband, might prove a nuisance 
as widow to a trustee, and therefore the Witthum was left 
to be paid to compensate him. The mundium of the 
ninth century had lost its significance as price for the 
wife, and won that of provision for the widow. 

As, therefore, the bridegroom at betrothal (Verlobung) 
no longer paid over the Witthum or mundium, but only 
undertook that it should be paid after his death, he was 
required to make a pledge or Wette (wadium, vadica) ^ 
that he would do so. Wette is a word derived from the 
same root as Witthum ; the verb is vidan^ to bind. Our 
English word ^ wedding ' means a binding, not of the hus- 
band to the wife, but of the bridegroom to the guardian ; 
and the betrothal, not the marriage, is the proper wed- 
ding. This was so among the Anglo-Saxons from the 
ninth to the eleventh century, till with the Normans 
Boman law began to take the place of Saxon law, and 
upset the relations between betrothal and marriage. In 
the laws of Alfred and Ethelbert an engagement is called 

1 The English het is the same word. 

136 Germany^ Present and Past. 

a wedde, a beweddunge ; and the betrothed maid is en- 
titled a wedded woman (beweddodu fa^mne). 

But, according to German law, no promise is binding 
without a simultaneous payment or transfer. Conse- 
quently, when the bridegroom ^ wedded ' himself to 
provide for his widow, he was obliged to fieisten his 
promise by a transfer. This assumed a symbolical form. 
With each Wette that he made he handed over to the 
guardian of the maid a straw, stick, arrow, or glove. 
This fictitious payment is the festuca of Teutonic law. In 
Weber's opera of ' Euryanthe,' Adolar and Lusiart place 
their gloves in the hands of the king, as tokens that 
under a certain eventuality they are prepared to sur- 
render their titles and possessions. Without the festuca 
of the gloves they could not have been held to their 
promises.^ It will be seen that throughout the maiden 
had nothing to do with the negotiation, which was carried 
on wholly between the suitor and the Vormimd. If she 
eloped with a man of her choice it was no marriage. The 
guardian could reclaim her, and the man must pay Wehr- 
geld — i.6. the value of the mundium or right over her 
he had violated, and also might be punished as a seducer. 
If the girl remained with him, she forfeited all family 
rights, and could inherit nothing from her parents.' 

But under the influence of Christianity the position of 
the woman improved, and in the Middle Ages the parts 
of bride and guardian became inverted. The woman 
assumed prominence, exercised her voice, and asserted her 

will, and the guardian sank into the background — ^his 

■ The English word glore means a pledge : pekjfa, gelob&n. 

* L§x A laman. ed. Hloth. 64, 1 : — < Si quis filiam alterios non spon- 
satam acoeperit sihi ad nxorem, si pater ejus reqnirit, reddat earn et 
cum xl. solidis oomponat earn.' 

Greff. Tvron. B. F, ix. 33 : — < Qaia sine parentiun oousilio eam oon- 
jngio oopnlasti, non erit nxor tna.* 

Marriage. 1 3 7 

voice and will lost importance. Originally the Vormund 
had contracted her in espousal, and to her was reserved 
only the power of exercising a veto ; now she contracted 
herself ireely, and to the guardian remained only the 
right of veto. If the veto of the guardian was disre- 
garded, then the woman lost aU claim on inheritance 
through her family. 

With this change, however, the form of betrothal 
remained the same; only the handsel was paid, not to 
the guardian, but to the bride. It consisted generally of 
thirteen or three Pfennige — i.6. a shilling or twopence 
with a Pfennig over for the betrothal drink. The ring 
was in use among the Romans as the arrha, and made its 
way into Grermany, and was often given at betrothal 
either with or in place of the coin, as clinching the 
bargain. There was no exchange of rings in those days. 
One ring was given. Among the lower classes the ring 
was not so ooihmon as the coin. The money was called 
the Mahlschatz, or agreement money between the Oemahl 
and Gemahlin. In 1592 the Duke of Mecklenburg struck 
a special silver coin for use among the peasants as a 
Mahlschatz, instead of the pierced shillings they were 
wont to employ. This coin, which was equal to three 
Sechser, bore on it the inscription, ' Der Seegen des Herm 
macht reich, und er giebt es wem er will.' It originated 
a proverb, ' Three Sechser made an old purchase, or bound 
a couple for life.' 

It has been shown that Verlobung, betrothal, was 
among the Germans the chief act ; Trauung has more 
ceremony but less importance. 

Verlobung in law and usage was the conclusion of the 
contract ; Trauung was merely the transfer of the pur- 
chased article to the house of the purchaser. The farmer 
buys a cow and he fetches it home when he has a stall 

138 Germany^ Present atid Past, 

in which to accommodate it ; but though he has not 
entered into actual occupation, he is already the owner of 
it. This was precisely the view of Verlobung taken 
by the G-erman race. The betrothal is the deaponaatio 
pueUoB, the marriage is the traditio pueUce, the ^ gifta ' 
of Anglo-Saxon law, the Norse 'gipta,' the Crennan 
< Gabe.' 

Trauen is literally the entrusting of the maid to her 
new lord. ' The husband is his wife's guardian (Vormund),' 
says the Sachsen-Spiegel, ^ to have and to hold as soon as 
she is married to him (getriiwel).' 

In the Trauung, as in the Verlobimg, the guardian, 
father or other, was the person who disposed of the maid, 
who betrothed and gave her away. He confided her to 
the troth of the husband. From the necessity of the 
case, the Trauung was a public ceremony, as it was the 
transfer of the woman fro^I her father's house to that of 
her husband. It was attended with certain formalities. 
As symbols of the authority which passed to the husband, 
the father handed over to him a sword, a hat, and a 
mantle — ^tokens that he was invested with power of life 
and death, and supremacy over her. The mantle signified 
the protection under which she had sheltered in her 
father's home, and which she must now find in her hus- 
band's house. 

The ring or coin given at betrothal to the Vormund 
was also then returned, as also the gloves or straws with 
whicn the Wette had been confirmed. 

According to a Swabian form of the twelfth century, 
the Trauung was performed by the Vogt or Vormimd — the 
natural guardian — with these words : ^ I commend my 
ward to your faith and favour, and pray you, for the sake 
of the betrothed whom I now make over to you, to be her 
right steward (Vogt), her gracious steward, and not to be 

Marriage. 139 

a fidthlees guardian (Vormund) to her.' Thereupon he re- 
turns the seven gloves, pledges of seven Wetten made at 
the betrothal, and gives the symbols of authority — sword, 
hat, and mantle. Thereupon the maiden looks to her 
husband as her ^ rechter und gnadiger Herr.' 

But in course of time this ceremony imderwent an 
alteration precisely as did the betrothal. The woman 
assumed the place as chief actor, and the guardian's 
position became less prominent or clearly marked. In 
the Swabian form quoted, the proper person to perform 
the marriage ceremony is the natural guardian. But in 
a Cologne formulary of the fourteenth century, the person 
to marry the couple is ' Jemand,' any one chosen by the 
bride to represent her guardian. He is father by a fiction. 
In the * Huguenots,' the heroine Valentine is married to 
Raonl de Nangis in the street of Paris during the mas- 
sacre of St. Bartholomew, by the old squire Marcello. 
According to Grerman usage and law, such a marriage was 
suBBcient. Marcello was assumed by fiction to be Valen- 
tine's &ther, and, as such, he performed the transfer. 

In the metrical tales of the thirteenth century, the 
person who solemnises the marriage is the emperor or 
king, sometimes the host: in Wernher's ^ Meier Helm- 
brecht,' it is any old man ^ der solche Dinge kann,' which 
we may render * up to doing the job.' In the English 
Marriage Service we see the trace of the same idea. The 
priest asks, ^ Who giveth this woman in marriage ? ' and 
the fetther or fictitious &ther signifies that he does. 

Originally the church bad nothing to do with marriage. 
Both espousal and marriage were civil acts. When the 
priest was present at betrothal it was simply as a witness. 
He had also nothing to do with the actual marriage, or 
transfer. That was performed by the guardian. Afterr 
the marriage it was customary iofc the couple to attend 

140 Germany^ Present mid Past. 

church together ; their first appearance at mass was their 
first appearance in pablic after their union. In the 
Nibelungenlied, Gunther and Brunhild, Siegfried and 
Kriemhild, go to the minster on the morning after their 
marriage. They make then their first appearance together 
in public, and are crowned. 

In < Metzenhochzit ' we have a graphic picture of a 
wedding among peasant farmers in the thirteenth or four- 
teenth century : the scene laid probably in Upper Swabia. 
Young Barschi (Bartholomew) loves young Metzi (Mech- 
tild), and they are betrothed. Her parents promise, as 
her dower, three beehives^ a horse, a cow, a calf, and a 
goat ; and Barschi gives, as Witthum, a yoke of fiaxland, 
two sheep, a cock and fourteen hens, and a pound of 

It is then agreed that they shall be married without 
^ scholars and parsons,' ^ i.6. without religious ceremony, 
according to old German fashion, and no yielding to new- 
fangled ideas. Consequently a great feast is prepared, 
all the neighbours with their wives and daughters are 
invited, each guest is given a bucket of beer, and ' they 
sucked and they drank, till their tongues could wag no 
longer.' Then turnips and bacon are produced, and the 
guests gorge themselves with ^ hands and beards glossy 
with grease.' Next come sausage and the bridal porridge. 

Then follow the flight, chase, and capture of the 
bride, and she is conducted to the marriage chamber. 

As Morgengabe Barschi gives Metzi a fat porker, and 
ikem^ not till then, the pair go, preceded by the village 
band of pipers and drummers, to church, where the bridal 
mass is sung.' 

It was much the same with another Mechtild in a far 
higher rank of life, now a saint on the altars of the 

1 < Ohne Schnoler nnd Pfaffen.* * LUdertadl, iii. 399 «^. 

Marriage. 141 

Catholic Church. Henry I. repudiated his wife Hadburg 
to marry her. She was the daughter and heiress of Count 
Dietrich of Bingelheim, and was educated by her grand- 
mother in the convent of Herford. He went to the con- 
vent, drew her thence, and conveyed her with all dignity to 
Walhausen, where he held the bridal banquet. Next morn- 
ing he gave her the revenues of the town of Walhausen as 
Moi^ngabe. In this case the Church was not invited to 

The newly married pair at the first mass were wont to 
receive the Communion, make an offering, and receive the 
benediction of the priest. But soon a special mass, 
'Missa pro sponsis,' was employed, with appropriate 
Epistle, Gospel, and Post-communion. Assistance at the 
mass did not make nor strengthen the marriage; the 
imion was valid and complete in itself without the religious 
ceremony ; but it was felt, and rightly felt, that so serious 
a step in life as marriage required a special benediction 
from heaven. 

In the Middle Ages the Church attempted a reform of 
the betrothal. She endeavoured to make that a public and 
a sacred rite. She required that betrothal should take 
place before the priest and witnesses, and that at it should 
be formally announced what Witthum the bridegroom pur- 
posed to give, so that there might be no after dispute on 
this point. But, apparently, the people did not take kindly 
to this interference, and instead of giving it up, the Church 
allowed the two ceremonies to be run together, much as 
in the English morning prayer, matins, and litany, and 
communion are lumped, though originally intended to be 
distinct services performed at different hours of the day.^ 

> This Friedberg disputes : he contends that the betrothal befoie 
the church-door was an attempt by the Church to mar the real 
Yerlobong, so as to divest the private contract of legal right, and to 

142 Germany, Present and Past. 

The betrothal took place as before, as a purely secular 
ceremony, in the house of the bride, and the Church merely 
rehearsed and published before the church-door what was 
already concluded elsewhere. In a Ritual of Rennes of 
the eleventh century, we find a rubric to this eflfect : ' The 
priest shall go before the door of the church in surplice 
and stole, and ask the bridegroom and bride prudently 
whether they desire to be legally united; and then Ke^ 
shall make the parenta give her a/way ^ according to the 
usual custom, and the bridegroom shall fix the dower, 
announcing before all present what (Witthum) he intends 
to give the bride. Then the priest shall make him betroth 
her with a ring, and give her a honorarium of gold or 
silver according to his means. Then let him give the 
prescribed benediction. After which, entering into the 
church, let him begin mass ; and let the bridegroom and 
bride hold lighted candles, and make an oblation at the 
ofiertory ; and before the Paz let the -priest bless them 
before the altar under a pall or other covering, according 
to custom, and, lastly, let the bridegroom receive the kiss 
of peace firom the priest and pass it on to his bride.' 

We see in this the outline of the Anglican service, 
which scrupulously follows the mediaeval type. The 
Anglican office is divided into tw6 parts, the first ^ in the 
body of the church,' the second at the altar. The body 
of the church was substituted for * before the door * as a 
concession to the English climate and brides' dresses. The 
honorarium is not given to the bride, but pocketed by the 
parson. ^The man shall give unto the woman a ring, 
laying the same upon the book with the accustomed duty 
(honorarium) to the priest and derh And the priest 
taking the ring shall deliver it (only) to the man,' &c. 

mn the two parts of marriage together. If ao, the Church has whoUy 
faUed in effecting this.— Friedberg : VBrJobun^ w. Trauunjf. Leipa. 1S76. 

Marriage. 143 

It is generally supposed that the parson has the right to 
give the first kiss to the bride. With other superstitions 
of Papal times, the mediate kiss through the bridegroom 
has been abandoned. 

But all the first part of the Marriage Service was felt 
to be a * vain repetition.' It was unreal. The betrothal 
had taken place before as a secular act, and the rite at 
the church-door was an empty echo of a completed trans- 
action. This was seen by the bishops and theologians 
assembled at the Council of Trent, and they cut off this 
first part as superfluous, and retained only the Bridal 
Mass with benediction. The Church abandoned thereby 
the pretence of uniting the betrothed, and retained her 
proper function of bestowing divine sanction and blessing 
on the union already entered upon. The priest had 
stepped into the place of the anybody ^ up to doing the 
job,' and had acted by fiction as the guardian or father. The 
Council of Trent displaced him, and restored the marriage 
to its original form. 

By (German law, we must again repeat, the betrothal 
was the completion but not the conclusion of marriage. 
It was the completion of the purchase, but not the entering 
OB possession. Betrothal lacked the positive character- 
istics of marriage. It was not the taking home of the wife, 
it was not the transfer of complete authority, it was not the 
entering into possession of her person and property. But, 
nevertheless, betrothal was invested with matrimonial 
rights. German laws unanimously declare the indissolu- 
bility of the tie. Breach of promise is the same as 
adultery. Death, by Lombard, Burgundian, and Wisigoth 
law, was the penalty on the woman attending breach of 
troth after Yerlobung as after Trauung. 

By Alemannic law, the man who carried off a wife was 
condemned to pay eighty solidi, and if he did not restore 

144 Germany^ Present and Past. 

her, 400 more. The man who eloped with a betrothed 
girl had to pay 200 solidi, and if she were not retomed 
to her guardian, 400 more. By Bavarian law, 160 solidi 
was the Wehrgeld for betrothed as for wife. 

When King Theodebert let seven years elapse without 
fetching home his betrothed, popular indignation was so 
strong that he was forced to dismiss his concubine and 
' take his bride to him as wife,' ^ A Prague statute of 
1364 says, ' Those are truly married people (Heirezleute), 
who have been betrothed (gelubet).' 

This view was clean opposed to that proclaimed by 
Boman law. By this latter, marriage consists in the 
oonaenaus nuptiaZisj i,e, the living together of husband 
and wife with maritalia affectio^ intent to regard one 
another in the light of husband and wife. Marriage is 
not constituted by any ceremonial act or transfer, but by 
actual matrimonial union. It follows therefore that by 
Boman law, espousal or betrothal is a promise {atvpu- 
latid) at some future time to unite in miarriage, but is 
nothing further. It is the initiation of marriage, but only 

Canon law in Italy was based on Boman law, and 
adopted the Boman view of espousals. But when the 
jurists had to construct canon law to meet the require- 
ments of Cisalpine peoples, they were obliged to accept 
facts and make the best of them. How to reconcile the 
two theories of marriage was a constant difficulty. After 
quoting and discussing certain authorities and cases, 
Gratian concludes : ^ From all these authorities it is clear 
that the betrothed {desponaati) are married {ponjugea).^ 
But St. Augustine and Leo the Crreat, knowing only Boman 
law, had taught that the essence of marriage lay in the 
union of the parties ; and consequently that an imperfect 

» Oreg, Turon. H. F. iii. 27. 

Marriage. 145 

union was dissoluble. Gratian tried to hannonise these 
doctrines thus : — 

' Sciendum est quod conjugium desponsatione initiatur, 
commiztione perficitur — unde inter sponsum et sponsam 
CGnjogiom est, sed initiatum ; inter copulates est con- 
jugium ratum.' In the case of the marriage of Henry VIII. 
with Catherine of Arragon, there rose a conflict between 
Soman and Teutonic law. Catherine, according to the 
latter, had been married to his brother, because she had 
been betrothed to him, therefore Henry's union with her 
was incestuous. Gallican and German canon law was on 
this point in accord with the Teutonic theory. But such 
was not the Boman doctrine, as there had been only a 
betrothal and not a perfected marriage with the deceased 
prince. A Cologne summary of canon law of 1 1 70, speak- 
ing of the two doctrines of marriage, says plainly, ^ On this 
question the Gallican and the Transalpine churches dis- 

T^e canonists endeavoured to bridge the difference by 
a curious distinction, purely artificial, between espousals, 
^ de prsesente ' and ' de future ; ' that is, they asserted that 
a betrothal in the present tense was a valid marriage and 
brought it under German law, whereas a betrothal in the 
future tense was the Boman espousal, and not binding. A 
Parisian Summa of the twelfth century says, ^ The Church 
of the French teaches differently (from the Boman Church), 
that if there has been an espousal in the present tense, as 
^ I take you as mine," on both sides, this constitutes a valid 
marriage. Consequently, though a woman be actually 
united to another man, she is bound to return to the 

The same Summa says further, ^ Marriage now-a-days 
takes place, not according to the (Boman) laws, but 
according to the Canons.' The Canons call a betrothal a 

VOL. I. L 

146 Germany y Present and Past. 

^ full, perfect, and complete ' marriage.^ Luther in his 
Tract 'Von Ehesachen' (1630), plainly adhered to the 
Teutonic, popular, and canonical theory. ' However bad 
a betrothal may be,' he says, ' it is soon settled : no other 
is permissible, for the betrothal is a true marriage before 
Grod and the world ; ' and further, ' An openly betrothed 
wench (Dime) is a wife (Ehefrau), and this public betrothal 
forms a right honourable marriage. Consequently he (the 
bridegroom) is certainly a proper husband, and as amongst 
us it is not fitting that a man should have more than one 
wife, he has no more power over his body, and cannot take 
another without committing adultery.' 

As may well be supposed, the greatest confusion 
reigned in social relations. No abuse could arise under 
the old system hedged round with guarantees. But the 
hedge had been broken through on all sides, and every 
guarantee was gone when the maiden was allowed to 
dispose of herself freely, and fix her fate irrevocably with a 
' Ja ! ' with not a witness by. Here and there, indeed, 
the Church had attempted to intervene and insist on the 
betrothal being made before witnesses and blessed by the 
priest, but such attempts were local and not general. The 
reader may remember the pretty picture of religious 
betrothal in Lamartine's ' Grenevi^ve,' where the bride goes 
to church in a new gown, which she afterwards gives to 
the Virgin. But the ceremonial of the Church universally 
was associated with the TroMJtio pu^ellc^ and the espousal 
was generally left a secular transaction. The result was 
that, when the guardian became a nonentity, all control 
over espousals was lost, all control, that is, over the 
essential transaction. The Church was called to bless an 
union, but had no means of assuring herself that this union 
was legitimate — that the persons asking her blessing had 

' * Batam, perfectnm, consummatiun matrimoninm.* 

Marriage. 147 

not betrothed tbemselves secretly to others. As an in- 
evitable consequence, applications for divorce were fre- 
quent, on the plea that those married publicly had been 
previously contracted to others. 

Luther thus graphically sketches the confrision : — ^It 
has often fallen out that a married pair came for me, and 
that one or both had already been secretly betrothed to 
another : then there was a case of distress and perplexity : 
and we confessors and theologians were expected to give 
counsel to those tortured consciences. But how could we ? 
Official right and custom pronounced the first secret 
betrothal to be a legitimate marriage. So off they went 
and severed the second marriage, and offered to observe the 
first betrothal. They had already, may be, ten children 
in their public married state, and had thrown their 
property into a common fund. They must, however, part. 
God grant that the first bridegroom be at hand to ac- 
knowledge the claim, but often enough he is already 
married, and not prepared to cast off his wife to take the 
applicant to his arms. Moreover, when such a betrothal 
was secret and confirmed by no witnesses, and the other 
marriage was public and ratified by the Church, there 
was a pulling in two directions. First, the woman was 
obliged, as a matter of conscience, to regard her private 
betrothal as a true marriage in the sight of Grod, and yet 
she was bound by obligations laid on her publicly, and 
recognised, to associate, night and day, with a man who 
was not her real husband. No one would believe in the 
first betrothal, which was known only to God, every one 
was aware of the other, which had taken place in public. 
What was a poor conscience to do in such a case ? ' 

Another characteristic passage occurs in Luther's 
* Table-Talk.' ' When I was in my cloister many an one 
came to me, and said, ^ Dear sir, I have got a wife to whom 

L 2 

148 Germany y Present and Past, 

I was privately betrothed. What am I to do, dear 
doctor ? help me, lest I despair ! Grretel, to whom I 
betrothed myself, is my true wife (Eheweib). But Barbara, 
who has since been married to me (vertraut), is not my 
wife ; and yet I am forced to live with her. I may not 
take Gretel, as I gladly would, for I am wedded to another, 
.and (jretel also has a husband — nobody knowing that she 
is my very true wife, save (rod alone. I shall be damned I 
I do not know how to get out of this hobble." Then 
comes the Pope with his disciples, the jurists, and says, he 
must stick to Barbara whom he has taken to wife before 
all the world, but in his heart of hearts must cleave to 
Gretel, as his true wife, to whom he was secretly betrothed. 
So he must not fulfil his marriage obligations to either I 
He cannot shake off Barbara, who has gone to church with 
him, and he cannot take his true wife GreteL' 

The Pope and the canonists were not to blame, as 
Luther tried to make out. The difficulty sprang out of 
the altered position of woman under laws framed for a 
different condition of society. The Cisalpine canonists had 
done what they could to make some practical working 
theory by which to govern marriage arrangements, which 
should not run counter to Teutonic and Galilean custom 
and law ; they had failed, but that was because the two 
doctrines were irreconcilable. 

It was absolutely necessary for some order to be intro- 
duced into matrimonial connections. Either the be- 
trothal must be declared a valid marriage or not. Common 
sense would suggest. If it be, then take precautions that it 
be not abused. 

Luther, as we shall see presently, made over the regu- 
lation of marriage to the State ; but his own opinion was 
in accordance with Old German law ; and the Lutheran 
Church followed him till the eighteenth century, in treat- 

Marriage. 1 49 

ing betrothal as marriage. The bishops and canonists 
assembled at the Council of Trent took a different line. 
Two things had to be reconciled — German custom and 
Roman custom. Where betrothal was regarded as valid 
marriage it should take place before witnesses — that 
seemed a reasonable provision ; and to secure that where 
Grerman views of betrothal prevailed, the nuptial bene- 
diction should not be pronounced over the wrong parties, 
it was requisite that the parish priest should be cog- 
nisant of all betrothals. Consequently, the Council of 
Trent ordered that betrothals should take place before at 
least three witnesses, of whom the parish priest should be 
one. If the Boman Church does not now exact his 
assistance at espousals, it is because, with the general 
adoption of Boman law, and Boman views of the relations 
between espousals and marriage, the necessity for the 
priest witnessing betrothals has passed away. But the 
Tridentine fathers made another regulation concerning 
marriage. They reduced the ceremony, as of obligation, 
to its original form, a benediction of the union. Where « 

the old forms of rehearsing the espousal at the church- ^ 

door had commended themselves to the people, they were 
not ruthlessly to be cut away, they were to be tolerated, 
but not exacted. 

The reception of Boman law in Germany created a 
revolution in the legal doctrine of marriage. Boman law 
came in with the perruques. 

In the seventeenth century Paulus Cyprseus argued 
that the current view of espousals was wrong, that betrc- 
thal was not marriage, but a looking forward to marriage, 
by mutual consent ; and that, therefore, a betrothal 
was dissoluble. He started the ball and others gave 
it a kick. Theologians and jurists began to distinguish 
between the con^enstt^ aponaalitius and the canaeTisus 

150 Germany, Present and Past 

matrimonialds. At the close of the seventeenth century 
the distinction was a favourite theme for the theses of 
candidates for the doctorial degree. Finally, Puffendorf 
formulated the Roman law of marriage in his book ' De 
Jure Naturse et G-entium/ which became a standard autho- 
rity. Bcemer took the same line in his work for Protes- 
tant ecclesiastical law^ < Jus Ecclesiasticum Protestantium,' 
and, though pretending to found his doctrine of marriage 
on natural right, he actually followed Boman law. 
Boemer completely revolutionised the received Lutheran 

The new doctrine was accepted by one State after 
another, and passed into its legislation. The Lutheran 
Church woke to suppose the religious ceremony was of 
essential importance. Crerman popular opinion and tra- 
dition suddenly found itself at variance with secular and 
ecclesiastical law. In the Prussian code stood the novel 
declaration, 'A valid marriage is effected by priestly 
ministration.' ^ 

The betrothal, which had been slight but strong, 
like the bond that bound Fenrir, was now transformed 
into a cord of sand. The word of promise was vox et 
prceterea nihil. It mattered not how many engage- 
ments had been made before marriage, they were 
cancelled by the nuptials. Before, betrothals were every- 
thing, marriage nothing ; now the positions were legally 
reversed. But popular opinion is of tough texture. It 
has persisted in considering an engaged couple as bride 
and bridegroom, in confounding Cremahl with Yerlobter, 
in regarding a breach of promise as a scandal scarce 
second to a divorce. It allows an intimacy between the 
betrothed which in England would hardly be allowed ; it 
explains, if it does not excuse, the fact, that so few peasant 

> Prefiuisohes TMndreohty Th. ii. Tit. i. §. 136. 


Marriage, 151 

brides have any claim to wear the myrtle wreath ; it 
acooimts for some village customs which we do not care to 
describe. It accounts for the fact that so little disgrace 
attaches to a girl who is the mother of illegitimate 
children. She has been betrothed, and, therefore, married 
in the sight of Grod and in the opinion of the public, 
whatever the new-fangled laws may say. Mischievous 
Malthusian legislation forbade her being taken home by 
her Gemahl, but no legislation can interfere with her 
bearing him a family in her father's house. A few years 
ago I was in the best inn in the pretty village of M., 
a Protestant village in the Franconian uplands. The 
landlord's daughter, a fair, modest-looking girl, with 
honest blue eyes, had her little ones hanging about her 
skirts, and though unmarried, and one of the first persons 
in the village, felt no shame in being so seen. She was 
betrothed, but the Baih and Bea/mJter forbade the 
marriage, i.e. the taking home of the bride, because the 
brid^room could not satisfy them that his finances would 
support a family. 

On February 6, 1875, the Imperial Government 
carried the following law : — * Marriage is to be concluded 
in the presence of two witnesses by the betrothed persons 
severally declaring their agreement, when asked by the 
proper officer whether they announce their intention of 
uniting in marriage with one another, and by his there- 
upon proclaiming that they are legally married.' ' * A 
clergyman or other minister of religion is not to execute 
this office, nor to act as substitute for the proper officer. ' ' 

When the first rocket rushed among the Ashantees, the 
blacks fell flat on their backs and yelled. The discharge 
of this law produced a somewhat similar effect among the 

> Law of Feb. 6, 1876, {BMeU-Qnetitblatt, p. 23), 4ter Absch. } 59. 
s Ibidy Iter Absch. % 3. 

152 Germa7iy, Present and Past. 

Evangelical clergy of G-ermany. They were for the 
moment paralysed, and then, from one end of the empire 
to the other, raised a wail of despair. The opening of the 
registrar offices in England for civil marriages has not 
materially diminished the number of ecclesiastical mar- 
riages, partly because such civil marriages are facultative, 
not compulsory, partly because the idea of the necessity of 
a religious solemnisation as at all events decent is deeply 
ingrained in the English mind. But in Germany the 
eifect was very different. In 1876, for instance, out of 
100 marriages, in Darmstadt 34*5, in Worms 44, in 
Offenbach 48*6, were performed before the registrar only. 
Each of these towns has got a certain number of Koman 
Catholic inhabitants : in Worms one-third, or 5,000 persons, 
are Catholics : and these, probably without exception^ go 
from the civil bureau to the church for the sacramental 
blessing of the priest. It is therefore probable that only 
about half of Protestant marriages in towns are solem- 
nised by the pastor. In the country it is different, where 
religion has not completely lost its hold on the population. 
The new law has placed the Evangelical Church in a 
position of great difficulty. Luther and the Evangelical 
Church, as well as the Reformed (Calvinist) Church, repudi- 
ated the idea of there being anything sacramental in 
marriage, any special grace given by the benediction of the 
pastor. Luther characterised marriage as a purely * secular 
matter (weltliches Ding).' Brenz, the Reformer of Wiirtem- 
berg, declared emphatically, < The marriage contract, like 
all other secular contracts, can be solemnised (verrichtet) in 
town-halls, or any other public, common, convenient, civil 
buildings or offices.' * Luther said : * So many countries, so 

» Brenz. in his abhorrence of celibacy and his eagerness to conple 
everybody, taught that maidenhood (Jungfifiulichkeit) was an imMy 
estate — *ein tinheiliger Stand.' 

Marriage. 153 

many customB, says the proverb; and as matrimony or 
the marriage state is a secular affair, it is not fitting that 
we clergy and servants of the Church should order or rule 
anything concerning it, but leave each country and town 
to follow its own usages and devices. Some like to lead 
the bride twice to church, in the evening and in the 
morning, some once, some announce the marriage by 
calling the banns two or three weeks before, but all such 
matters I leave to the princes and town^councils to settle 
and direct as they see fitting — ^it is no concern of mine. 
But if people ask for the church and wish to be blessed and 
prayed over in the church, or even to be there imited, it is 
our duty to accommodate them.' ' The Lutheran view is 
quite intelligible. There is no violent break with Oerman 
usage. The Beformers did not originate the civil theory 
of marriage, they fell in with the prevailing conception of 
it. When they rejected the doctrine of Catholicism, that 
the sacramental benediction of the priest conveyed divine 
help to maintain a Christian union in love and purity, and 
was designed to raise a carnal connection into a sacred 
bond, they were logically obliged to fall back on the 
doctrine that marriage is a mere matter of State police. 
The Reformers therefore taught that marriage needed no 
religious service to cement it, but that a religious cere- 
mony might be superadded to the civil contract as a con- 
cession to old-fashioned prejudice, as a pious usage not to 
be lightly abandoned because it was of sentimental rather 
than of actual importance. Luther accordingly drew up 
two short sketches of services, which have formed the 
groundwork of all later marriage rites in the Evange- 
lical Church, and which were themselves constructed out 

1 In the Latin version : < Si vero a nobis petitnr, at desponsatos vel 
ante vel intra templnm oopnlemus, eis benedicamus aut pro ipsia 
oxemnsy hoc sane ipsis officii debemns.' 

154 Germany, Present and Past. 

of the pre-Reformation offices. These pre-Reformation 
services consisted of two parts — ^the rehearsal of the 
betrothing at the door^ and then the mass, concluding 
with the sacramental benediction. Luther laid the whole 
stress in his formularies on the rehearsed betrothal, cut out 
the mass, but retained the benediction, as a pious hope 
and prayer expressed by the pastor that divine blessing 
might rest on the couple. 

But though the Protestant Church solemnised nuptials, 
it continued to hold that betrothal was true marriage. In 
a Wittenberg confession of 1597, the separation of those 
betrothed was forbidden : ^ for betrothal is a true, binding 
marriage concluded between man and woman before God 
and the world, although the parties may not have been 
wedded (getraut) and blessed by the priest, as is Christian 
custom and usage.' In the year 1567 a Lutheran town- 
council informed the Wittenberg Church Consistory that it 
had become very customary for those betrothed to live 
together before they were married, and asked whether it 
would not be well to interfere and prevent, or punish co- 
habitation. The Consistory answered in the n^rative : ^ as 
with betrothal a true marriage is contracted, and persons 
thus cohabiting are to be treated as truly married.' 

The Lutheran theologian Dunte in his ^ Casus Con- 
scientise,' in 1634, laid down: ^The consent of two con- 
tracting persons makes marriage, and the presence of the 
priest is not necessary.' The Leipzig theological faculty, in 
1620, decreed that ^ the consent of two contracting parties, 
i.6. of a man and woman, not already married, having 
pleasure and love in each other, constitutes marriage,' 
and that ecclesiastical union is a matter not of divine 
appointment, but of ^ human ordinance.' 

A curious instance of the application of this doctrine 
occurs in the transactions of the Rostock courts in the 

Marriage. 155 

seventeeDth century. A certain Hans Steinmann, citizen 
of Liibeck, was betrothed to a damsel named Engel^ bat 
died, in 1637» before the marriage took place. She 
thereupon claimed her share of his property as his widow, 
and her claim was recognised.^ 

When the law on civil marriage was passed, and 
couples were bound to appear before the registrar, the 
significance of the Protestant rite was lost. The registrar 
had joined the couple, consequently the pastor could not 
do this again without appearing to call in question the 
validity of the secular marriage. A century and a half 
ago no trouble or difficulty on this score could have 
arisen in the Evangelical Church ; but the present genera- 
tion of pastors has been educated imder the influence of 
Bosmer's 'Jus Ecclesiasticum,' and has come to regard 
marriage by a pastor as essentially constituting Christian 
marriage as distinguished from concubinage. 

Before 1848, obligatory civil marriage existed only in 
Shenish Prussia, Rhein-Hessen, and the Bavarian Palati- 
nate, which had fallen under French law. It is curious 
that at the great Frankfurt National Assembly in that 
year, where the Catholic representatives were in force, 
they raised no objection to civil marriage, having learned 
by experience that it did not interfere with Church 

In 1855 facultative civil marriage was introduced into 
Oldenburg, in 1850 it was made obligatory in Frankfurt- 
on-Maine, and in 1869 in Baden. Prussian legislation 
was more hesitating. 

In 1831, when divorce was made easy, and showed a 

* So in 1637 ; but in 1757, when Roman law had made its way, the 
Bostock magistntM made a decree reversing previous practice. < A 
betrothed person, in the eveat of the death of the betrothed, may not 
inherit of the deceased, but the suryivor may only wear a mooming^ 

156 Germany, Present and Past. 

tendency to become frequent, the pastors took alarm. 
According to the old Lutheran theory that marriage was 
a secular contract with which the Church had nothing to 
do, and might not interfere, the pastors were bound to 
marry all whom the State allowed to contract unions 
together. But several pastors held that this was a case 
not contemplated by Luther, or that it was one for which 
he did not provide, believing that Scripture was suffi- 
ciently explicit on the point. Civil marriage was then 
not possible, except for Jews ; and the case of divorced 
persons seeking marriage became a burning question. In 
1831, a pastor in Pomerania refused his ministrations to 
bless a union which was a public scandal. In 1833 a 
similar case occurred in Westphalia, and by 1845 there 
were as many as twenty-five such cases ; of these seven 
had been refused by Grerlach, ft Berlin clergyman. 
G-ovemment did not interfere, as it was found that where 
one pastor was scrupulous two were less nice. In 1844 
appeared a new law regulating divorce, and a royal order 
of January 30, 1846, required the Church to lay down 
disciplinary regulations, so as not to leave the refiisal of 
marriage to the discretion of individual pastors, and^ in 
the meantime, to provide a flying squadron of unscru- 
pulous chaplains who might be sent about J;he country 
and into the parishes of recalcitrant ministers to haUow 
these unsavoury unions. 

In 1859 the Prussian Government introduced two 
bills in succession to authorise facultative civil marriage, 
but both were rejected by the House of Lords. 

Shortly before the law of 1875 was signed, the Evan- 
gelical Church Governing Council (Oberkirchenrath) of 
Berlin was siunmoned by Government to revise the Pro- 
testant formulary of marriage so as to remove every word 
which might be taken to cast a slur on the foregoing 

Marriage. 157 

secular union. The Council had issued a provisional office 
on September 21 , 1874. This defined the marriage by the 
pastor as the exaction from the already wedded couple ' of 
a TOW before Grod that they will conduct their union till 
death in a Christian manner and in accordance with the 
word of God.' The form of joining the betrothed was 
exscinded, so as to give no occasion to the supposition that 
the Church regarded them as not united till they came 
before the altar. No promise to take one another was 
demanded, but only an undertaking to live together ^ in a 
Christian and orderly manner.' As the prefieu^ says, 
every precaution was taken by elimination and alteration 
' to remove the impression that the Church regarded the 
marriage as one still to be concluded — i.e. of appearing to 
deny the matrimonial authority of the civil act.' The 
Cassel, Kiel, and Waldeck Consistories adopted an almost 
identical fonn. But the Hanoverian Synod of November 
1874 would not abandon the form of uniting the couple 
(Zusanunensprechen). The Berlin formulary met with 
the liveliest opposition from the ^ orthodox ' party in the 
Established Church. In September 1875, some six 
hundred pastors of this party met in conference and 
formulated their opposition. 

But the G-ovemment is not prepared to tolerate any 
ecclesiastical pretensions on the part' of the Evangelical 
clergy any more than on that of the Catholic priesthood. 
The Hanoverian Lutheran Church has been incorporated 
in the Prussian Union, and six of its pastors have with- 
drawn from it rather than use Ihe mutilated marriage 
rite. In Schleswig-Holstein, in Hesse-Darmstadt, in 
Baden, there have been similar secessions. In Baden 
the Oberkirchenrath* produced a new liturgy with 

» The Oberkirchenrath or Goyeming Goimcil is not in Baden, any 
more than in Pnusia, a representative synod. It consists entirely of 

158 Germany y Present and Past. 

amended marriage formulary in June 1877, quite in 
conformity with the Prussian service* Rings are still 
(Mowed to be exchanged, and the pastor joining the 
hands says : ^ Your solemn vows, which you have given 
each other before God, I, by virtue of my office, accept as 
an undertaking by you to lead together a Christian 
wedded life, and so I bless your union in the name,' &c. 

If law in Germany has been capricious in the view it 
has taken of the relations existing between betrothal and 
matrimony, it has not been less capricious in the way in 
which it has at one time favoured, at another hindered 
marriage. In the Middle Ages privileges and advantages 
were accorded to the married which were denied to 
bachelors In Hanover, the Palatinate, and Brunswick, 
the estate of a single man on death reverted to the State. 
Difficulties arose about the property of priests, and the 
legal faculty at Halle published a decision that only the 
property of wilful bachelors was to be confiscated, * be- 
cause through vdckedness and levity they had despised 
matrimony.' At Halle only married men as heads of 
households could enjoy the rights of citizens and the salt 
privil^es. In Brandenburg, law was equally severe on 
these evaders of the chief duty of man. As late as 1683 
the village authorities were required not to harbour young 
unmarried persons, but to look them up, and, whether 
citizens or servants, to see that all who had attained the 
age of twenty were married. In 1722 this law was 
re-enacted, but the age at which domestic felicity was 
rammed down men's throats was placed at five-and- 
twenty. No man was allowed to evade marriage and 
remain in the land. The bachelor who transgressed his 

state nominees— a President, who is a lawyer and Staatsrath, another 
legal officer, three Kammeralister (managers of the Church finances), 
and three theologians,— all appointed by the Grand-Duke. 

Marriage. 159 

twentieth or five-and-twentieth birthday was arrested, 
dragged before the Burgmeister and Rath, and ordered to 
fall in love and many, at least the latter, within the month, 
or be cast out of the parish and doomed to vagabondage. 

A person of either sex condemned to death was given 
free pardon and release on receiving an offer of marriage. 
This custom, which prevailed also in France, has formed 
the basis of one of Balzac's tales in his foul ^ Gontes 
Drolatiques.' As late as 1725 this law or usage was in 
force. A woman capitally sentenced for repeated thefts, 
in Switaserland, obtained her pardon and discharge on a 
Swabian weaver offering to marry her. His grandfather 
had in like manner saved a woman from being broken on 
the wheel, and she had brought a blessing on the house 
and family. Marriage in German minds was thought to 
purge away crime. 

But at the end of last century Malthus taught that 
^ men multiplied in geometrical, and provisions in arith- 
metical progression,' and that the State should therefore 
check marriages, and, where means were not sufficient to 
support a family in comfort, to prohibit them. The 
teaching of Malthus was taken up by a shoal of advocates 
on the platform and in the press; and the Grerman 
Governments became uneasy and alarmed at the rapid 
increase in population. Bavaria, a poor land of moun- 
tain, sandy fiats, and forest, became most anxious to 
arrest the growth. Laws were passed throwing every 
conceivable impediment in the way of marriage, making 
it a privilege of the rich and an impossibility for the 
poor. Candidates for hymeneal happiness were required 
to appear before official Boards and prove that they had 
fortunes which could dower daughters and set up sons in 
life. They had not merely to count their chickens before 
they were hatched, but also to satisfy the village vestry 

i6o Germany, Present and Past. 

that they had barley on which to feed and &tten them. 
How these laws acted, common sense will tell. In 
1870, the pastor of the Evangelical Grerman Church at Paris 
stated that there were in the French capital 10,000 from 
Darmstadt alone, occupied as street-sweepers, who had 
fled their country to escape compulsory celibacy. In 
1772, men ran away to avoid compulsory marriage. That 
these laws should enormously raise the per-centage of 
illegitimate births was not to be wondered at. Bavaria 
has hardly yet recovered the demoralising effect of Mal- 
thusian legislation. The proportion now is 13*70 per 
cent., the same as in Berlin, but it is declining annually. 
Prussia alone, of the States of the Bund, placed no 
impediments in the way of marriage. In Mecklenburg, 
on the contrary, the Malthusian laws were in full force ; 
the population decreased, and the price of labour rose. 
After awhile the North Grerman Bund followed the 
example of Prussia, and later these laws were cancelled 
everywhere in South Grermany. 

The law of February 6, 1875, for the whole Empire, 
makes every man of age to contract a marriage when 
twenty years old, and every girl at the completion of her 
sixteenth year ; but no man may marry without consent of 
his guardian (father or otherwise) till he is five-and- 
twenty, no woman till she is four-and-twenty. There is 
no Imperial legislation to decide whether marriage con- 
tracted without consent of guardians is to be held as valid 
or not, and this question is answered differently in different 
States. An union without consent of the parents is not 
legally void in Hanover, in Kur-Hesse, Nassau, Hamburg, 
the kingdom of Saxony, Saxe-Grotha, Saxe-Altenburg, and 
the greater part of Bavaria. But a marriage without con- 
sent of parents is absolutely null in Ansbach, Baireuth, 
Kempten, Kaufbeuren, and Solms. » 

Marriage. 1 6 1 

By the law of 1875, only soldiers and Government 
officials are not allowed to contract unions without special 
authorisation. ^ All other regulations which have hindered 
the rights of persons to contract marriage, except such as 
are defined in this law, are, abolished.^ ^ 

We might have supposed that with this * Horgengabe ' 
of the Imperial Chancellor to United Germany, marriages 
would have increased. But this has not been the case. 
There has, on the contrary, been a steady decrease, whilst 
the population has grown. Whereas, in 1872, there were 
in Germany 423,900 marriages, with a population of 
41,058,780, in 1876 there were only 366,912 marriages, 
with a population of 42,752,555. In Berlin alone, in one 
year, there has been a falling off to the number of 2,435.' 

The decline in number is due partly to the stagnation 
in trade, but chiefly to universal military service. Every 
man is now a soldier with the colours from the age of 
twenty for three years, and then in the Reserve for four 
years longer. Thus he cannot begin to work for his liveli- 
hood till he is twenty-three, and then for four years longer 
he is hampered with military drill for two months out of 
the twelve.* 

What has been given with one hand has been with- 
drawn with the other. The first and best years of a man's 
life are taken from him, and it is rarely possible for him 
now to found a household before he is forty. Universal 
military service is Malthusian legislation under another 
form and another name: it is equally ruinous to the 
welfare of a country. Prosperity is to be found in btiry- 

1 Ster Absefa. §. 39. The law forbids anions between blood-relations, 
between guardians and their wards, between those divoroed for adul- 
tery and the persons with whom it was committed. 

s In 1876 there were 14,628, in 1876 only 12,093. 

* In Westphalia, Hanover, and Schleswig-Holstein, military service 
is from the 2l8t to the 29th year. 

VOL. I. M 

1 62 Germany, Present and Past. 

ing the dragon's teeth that men may spring up, not in 
rooting men out of the soil and converting them into 
murderous fangs. 

There is one point on which a word must be said 
before the subject of German marriages is dismissed, viz. 
the efifect on morality of the absence of the religious 
element in marriage. From the earliest period in Ger- 
many, as has been shown, marriage was regarded solely as 
a civil contract, no more demanding religious sanction 
than the sale and transfer of a cow. The Roman concep- 
tion of matrimony was less gross and mercantile. The 
bond was regarded as sacred, as hallowed by the gods. 
Throughout the Middle Ages the Church fought hard to 
place marriage on a better footing, to spiritualise a traffic 
in flesh. But the resistance on the part of the people was 
stubborn. In the capitulary of Pepin the Little (a.d. 
755) no mention is made of any religious ceremony a^ 
requisite for hallowing and confirming a marriage. This 
the Carlovingians recommended, but did not require. 
Even so late as 1043, at the marriage of the Emperor, 
Henry III., the clergy assisted merely as guests and wit- 
nesses. In the twelfth century, bishops and councils 
forbade the performance of the marriage ceremony by 
laymen. It was not till the thirteenth century that for- 
mularies for marriage were introduced and became custo- 
mary. The Reformation broke out when opinion was in a 
state of transition. The old view of marriage as a secular 
transaction held its ground, but side by side with it was 
growing up an ecclesiastical theory of marriage as a religious 
union, which treated an unblessed union as concubinage. 

It was perhaps inevitable that Luther should adopt the 
former view ; his appeal was to German law, feeling, and 
tradition against every foreign importation. In the heat 
of controversy and the intoxication of passion, he did not 

Marriage. 163 

sufficiently discriminate between what was good, though 
un-German, and what was objectionable. When he laid 
down with his fist, ^ Die Ehe gehet die Kirche nichts an, ist 
ausser deiselben, ein zeitlich, weltlich Ding, darumb gehoret 
8ie fiir die Oberheit,' he sammed up the stolid German 
opposition of two centuries. Since the Reformation till 
the introduction of Roman law, and the treatise of Puffen- 
dorf. Evangelicals (Lutherans), and Reformed (Galvinists) 
alike regarded marriage as a mere civil transaction. 

The Catholic Church received a check in her work of 
moulding opinion in Germany. She lost her hold over a 
large part of the empire. But where she retained her 
grasp, there she never ceased to labour at the remodelling 
of popular opinion on the matter of marriage. If cast 
iron be hammered at long enough it will become fibrous 
and flexible. So it is with the most crystalline public 
opinion. It has been so with popular notions about 
marriage in the parts of Germany still Roman Catholic ; 
there they do not diflFer from those in France or in 
England. Thus, where two villages adjoin, one Catholic, 
the other Protestant, we find a strict and a lax opinion 
side by side. 

The inevitable result of the laxity of dealing with 
marriage by the Protestant Church has been a correspond- 
ing laxity of morals. Thus, throughout Germany the 
statistics of illegitimacy show a mucli higher rate among the 
Protestants tEan among the Catholics.^ For instance : — 

Province of Prussia (Prot.) illegitimate births are 9*0 per 100. 
„ Brandecborg (Prot.) „ 10"9 

„ Pomerania (Prot.) „ 10*0 

„ Schleswig-Holfltein (Prot.) „ 96 

„ Westphalia (Cath.) „ 2-7 

^ Rhineland (Cath.) „ 30 

I From Statiitik det Devtsoh. Reiohiy 1876. 

M 2 

164 Germany, Present and Past. 

So, also, in the towns that can be compared as almost 
exclusively Catholic or Protestant : — 

Berlin (Prot.) illegitimate births are 13-5 per 100. 
Magdeburg (Prot.) „ 9*6 „ 

Hanover (Prot.) „ 8*9 „ 

CJoblenz (Cath.) „ 2-7 „ 

Aix-la-C!hapelle (Cath.) „ 2-2 „ 

Treves (Cath.) „ 2-3 „ 

In Thuringia, where the population is wholly Evan- 
gelical, the average of illegitimate births in the towns is 
12-0;' at Altenburg 14-5, Coburg 12-8, Hildburghau- 
sen 10-8, Weimar 8-8.* 

If marriage be a mere civil contract, then that con- 
tract may be dissolved and a fresh one entered into without 
scandal. This is an obvious deduction, and has been 
drawn in Germany. The civil board which binds together 
can dissolve the tie, and dissolve it for the most trivial 
reasons. Yet the percentage of divorce is not as high as 
might be expected. The actual number of divorced 
persons of both sexes in Germany at the census of 
December 1, 1871, was only 69,794. Out of 10,000 
persons over the age of 15 there are in Prussia 30 divorced, 
in Saxony 37, in Wiirtemberg 32, in Bavaria 11, and in 
Baden 10. The reason of the average being no higher is 
that divorces are almost wholly among the Protestants, 
and amongst them are confined to the citizen, professional, 

> At Jena in Thuringia the annual number of illegitimate children 
is only slightly under that of legitimate children. In the year 1866, there 
were 156 legitimate births, and 161 illegitimate. In 1871, the legiti- 
mate were 145, the illegitimate 116. At Jena is a lying-in>ho6pital, 
which helps to make the per-centage 45 per cent. ' At Freiburg im B. is 
also one, and there it raises the proportion to 19 per cent. But in this 
case, though the town is Catholic, the population round it is mixed, 
Catholic two-thirds and Protestant one- third. I was told there also, 
that sereral cases came from Basle. 

* Jakrhuoher fUr National, Oekonomie u, StatUHkf 1876. 

Marriage. 165 

and noble classes, whereas the peasantry rarely resort to the 
board for a divorce. It is due also to the fact that the 
number of those who return themselves as divorced at a 
census does not represent half of those who have been 
divorced. As a general rule two-thirds of those who get 
divorced marry again. Consequently the average for Prussia 
should be 90 in 10,000, instead of 30. In Transylvania it 
is said that, among the Grerman Lutherans two out of every 
three girls who get married are divorced before the end of 
the year, and that most married women have had three 
husbands. Mr. Boner says : ' Among the Saxon peasantry a 
wife or a husband is a thing which may for convenience sake 
be put aside or changed at pleasure. Divorce is a thing 
of such every-day occurrence, is decided on so lightly and 
allowed so easily, that it has become a marked feature — 
indeed, a component part of — Saxon rural life. A sepa- 
ration of husband and wife after three, four, or even six 
weeks^ marriage is nothing rare or strange; and the 
woman divorced will often want six or eight months of 
being sixteen. Among a portion of the Saxons, marriage 
may almost be said to be a merely temporary arrange- 
ment between two contracting parties: very frequently 
neither expects it to last long, and may have resolved that 
it shall not. In the village near the Kochel, sixteen 
marriages took place in one year : at the end of twelve 
months only six of the contracting parties were stiU liviug 
together. In the place where I write this, there are at 
this moment eleven bridal pairs intending to celebrate 
their wedding a fortnight hence. Of these eleven, the 
schoolmaster observed that there would probably not be 
many living together by this time next year. The clergy- 
man, too, was of opinion that before long many would 
come to him with grounds for a separation. * Divorce is 
easy, and belongs so intimately to married life, that even 

1 66 Germany y Present and Past. 

before the wedding it is talked of, and, under certain 
probable eventualities, looked forward to as consequent on 
the approaching union. " Try to like him," says the father 
to the girl, *' and if later you find you can't do it, I will 
have you separated ? " In the village where I was staying, 
five suits for separation were pending : indeed, such cases 
are always going on. I have talked over this crying evil 
with the Saxon clergy, and from these have learued how 
futile the causes generally were. One husband did not 
believe what his wife had said, and she immediately 
wanted to be separated, as ^' she could not live with a man 
who would not trust her." Another did not eat his dinner 
with appetite. ** Oh," said his wife, '' it seems my cooking 
does not please you, if I cannot satisfy you," &c. The 
chief cause of complaint of another husband, whose pretty 
young wife I frequently saw at her father's house, was, 
that she had washed some linen again after his mother had 
already washed it, and that was an insult to his mother.' 
Mr. Boner says of Hungary : * In a Hungarian town of 
somewhat more than 4,000 inhabitants, there were pend- 
ing, in 1862, no less than 171 divorce suits. All these 
were among the Calvinist population.'^ In Denmark 
divorce is much more common than in Q-ermany. From 
what I have seen and heard I fear that morals are at a 
terribly low ebb in the peninsula and its islands. Out of 
10,000 persons in Germany over 15 years old, 26 are 
divorced, in Denmark 50 ; in Hungary 44 ; in Switzerland 
(exclusively among the Zuinglians and Calvinists) 47 ; ^ in 
Catholic Austria there are only 4'8.' At Hamburg, out of 
the adult population, there are 70 divorced persons out of 

I 0. Boner: Trantyltanioy iU Products and People, London, 1865, 
pp. 488, 496, 503. 

' The proportion to the Protestant population is 90 out of 10,000. 
The statistics are taken from tho6e published by the German 
Imperial Qovemment in the StMutik de$ Deutsohen JtHchs. 

Marriage. 167 

10,000 remainiBg immarried at the census of 1871, in 
Bremen 38, in Leipzig 48. On the other hand, in the 
purely Catholic towns, as Treves, there are only 7, at 
Cologne 9, at Miinster 9. The Statistical Report of the 
Government, published in 1872, says: ^The connection 
between the relative proportion of divorced and the relir 
gious confessions is unmistakeable. In the specially Evan* 
gelical districts divorces are frequent, in the strictly 
Catholic districts they are rare.' ^ In the Protestant 
Cantons of Switzerland, especially Yaud, divorce is almost 
as frequent as among the Saxons in Transylvania. A 
friend who lived in Vaud has told me how he has sat down 
at table with a party, four gentlemen with their four 
wives, each of whom had been the wife of one of the 
others. They met without the slightest restraint, and as 
the best of friends. It has not come to this yet in Ger- 
many; not, at least, in the South. Divorces are most 
frequent in the North. In 1877, in a town of South 
Germany, with a population of 25,000 inhabitants (2,500 
Protestants), there were 7 divorces, all either among the 
Protestants, or in cases of mixed marriages, and 245 mar- 
riages; or about 3 per cent, of the marriages end in 

Altogether the present condition of morals in Germany 

I The following extract from Hansner's VergUieiKende Statittik van 
Ewopa, 1866, b. i. p. 179, gives a terrible picture of the moral degra- 
dation of the two largest cities of North GerBiany as compared to 
In Hamburg there is 1 prostitute to 48 inhabitants, i.e. every 9th girl. 

Berlin ,» ,» 62 

London „ „ 91 

Vienna „ „ 159 

Ifimich „ ^ 222 

Dresden „ „ 286 

Paris „ „ 247 

Brussels „ n 275 

Strassbnrg „ „ 302 



168 Germany, Present and Past. 

is such as to impress one with the danger of dissociating 
the idea of marriage from religion. Where passion and 
temptation are strong, and the tie is regarded as a mere 
business contract, there passion will have its way, as every 
new temptation arises. It may be questioned whether it 
is any gain to virtue or society that the iron rivets of the 
law should hold together those who have discovered the 
utter incompatibility of their tempers and habits. But it 
is a danger to society when the marriage bond is made so 
easy of rupture, that marriage becomes a joining of hands 
and down the middle and up again, as in a country-dance, 
with ever changing partners. The economy of nature 
demands paramount care to be extended to the protection 
of the child, and natural religion requires that the sanctity 
of home will surround and hallow the nursery. But how 
can that be called a home where the husband and the father 
are not necessarily one, and that sacred where marriage is 
treated as a mere civil contract ? Divorce laws should be 
the thorny burrs protecting the child, and preserving a 
home and training for it. If it were not for children, 
law and social customs would be sufficient to guarantee 
order. The foundations of the State are laid in the 
family, and not in the individual, and the first care of the 
State should be to hedge round that plural unit. The 
strength of a country does not lie in its great armies, but 
in its multitudes of householders, each a rootlet clinging 
to the soil, and capable of infinite multiplication. We 
may hesitate whether that nation is advancing in a right 
direction, and giving great promise of a future, where 
marriages are steadily on the decline, and divorces are 
becoming more common and shameless. 

Women. \ 69 



Das ewig Weibliche zieht ons hinan. 

Goethe, Fa'utty Part ii. 


The French poet Diderot said once, * He who would write 
about women should dip his pen in rainbow-dye and 
powder his lines with the gold-dust of butterflies' wings.' 
I venture to think that this does not apply to German 
women. I am sure that women needing such a material 
for their description would not deserve description. 

Hertha — the earth — was the goddess of the old Teutons. 
But the earth is fair and fruitful in summer, and rigid 
and remorseless in winter. So the Grermans fabled of 
two goddesses, the one loving, pitying, motherly ; the other 
hard, repelling, murderous. A peasant woman was sick, 
and she had a little babe that wailed for the food she could 
not give it. Then, in the night, there shone a glory in 
the cottage chamber, and in the midst of the light was a 
beautiful woman, with golden hair waving about her 
shoulders, dressed in a robe of varied colours, and with 
eyes blue as the summer skies. She took the babe from 
its cradle, and suckled it at her breasts, and then vanished. 

It was Frau G-ode, the beneficent earth-goddess. 

A peasant lad was keeping cows on an alp. Then a 
strange woman stood before him and said, ' Let me take 
you to myself.' He was frightened and ran away. But 

170 Germany, Present and Past. 

his master was angry that he had deserted the cows, and 
sent him back. And when he came to the alp, where 
the woman had stood, he found only a heap of ironstone 
and a black pool. He looked into the water, for there 
was something swimming in it, and he saw an iron head 
with eye-sockets like deep holes ; and he touched it with 
a stick, and the iron head sank. Presently he went out 
on the edge of the cliff, and sounded his horn. Then 
something came rushing towards him from among the 
pines, and he was ware of the iron head looking over his 
shoulder, and he heard a voice say, 'None escape me 
whom I desire:' and two iron arms closed round him, 
and iron claws gripped him. He was found next morning 
crushed and broken at the bottom of the cliff. 

It wad Jamsaxa, the cruel earth-mother.^ 

The G-erman women are of divine origin, descended 
from goddesses, and they have carried with them to their 
last posterity all the warmth of Gode's heart, and some of 
the iron of Jamsaxa's head. 

The two generations have grown together, and I think 
there never was a time when there were not in Fatherland 
representatives of Gode and of Jamsaxa. Heaven be 
praised I the daughters of the iron goddess are not all as 
ferociously disposed as she, the divine blood of G-ode throbs 
in their hearts, they retain only the hardheadedness of their 

It is, no doubt, because among German women there 
are some of both races, as in one woman there are opposed 
individualities, that we find such conflicting testimony 
concerning them in the age when the curtain is first 
lifted on their lives. Tacitus says that the Germans 
esteemed something sacred and prophetic in woman, that 
they followed her counsels, and exalted her as a goddess ; 

> Hoela is the same cruel goddess ander another name. 

Wofnen, 171 

but, on the other hand, the stern evidence of early laws 
shows that she was treated as a household animal, bought 
and sold, let or lent. Her life was given her by the 
capricious generosity of her father, and when her husband 
died, she was expected to bum herself on his body, as of 
no more use in the world.^ 

The first glimpse given us of the G-erman woman by 
history is not of her as a benign and bending character. 
She bursts on us as a being, fearful and violent, but heroic. 
In the year 102 before Christ, Caius Marius rolled back 
the inundating wave of Teutones on the bloody field 
of Aix. The routed barbarians were pursued by the 
Soman soldiers to their camp. ^Then,' says Plutarch, 
^ the Teutonic women rushed to meet them with swords 
and cudgels, and flung themselves headlong among 
pursuers and pursued, uttering hideous and frantic howls ; 
the latter they drove back as cowards, the former they 
assailed as enemies, miDgliog with the battle, beating 
down the swords of the Somans, with their bare hands 
grasping the bare blades, and with courage, dauntless to 
the death, allowed themselves to be gashed and hacked to 
pieces rather than yield.' 

Valerius Maximus shows us not only their daunt- 
lessness, but their dignity. The captured Teutonic 
maidens besought the conqueror to let them enter among 
the virgins of Vesta, promising to remain untarnished in 
her service. When their request was refused, rather than 
submit to the indignities in store for them, in the night 
they strangled themselves, valuing their honour above 
their lives. 

Next year Marius routed the Cimbri at Vercellae. When 
the legionaries drove the invaders over the wall of their 

' This was in the earliest stage ; but exposure of infants remained 
in Christian times, and was only put down with difficulty. 

172 Germany, Present and Past. 

camp, the Cimbric women, standing in the chariots, robed 
in black, killed those who fled, one cut down a husband, 
another a brother, a third a father. Then they cast their 
children under the wheels of the cars and hoofs of the horses, 
and, lastly, laid murderous hands on themselves. One was 
found himg by her own hands to a chariot-pole, with her 
strangled babes dangling from her ankles. 

With the majesty of heroism and great sorrow, the 
first German woman whose name is known steps forth on 
the stage of history. Thusnelda^ was the wife of Hermann 
(Arminius), the indefatigable opponent of Bome, con- 
queror of Varus and exterminator of his legions. Her 
father Siegast, who had an hereditary feud with the 
Hessian chief, betrayed his daughter, when awaiting her 
confinement, into the hands of the Romans. Inspired 
with the spirit of her husband, rather than with that of 
her father, says Tacitus, her captivity drew from her not 
a tear or word of lamentation. She brooded in silence on 
her grief, with hands folded on her bosom and eyes resting 
on her ripening womb. The news that his beloved wife 
was torn from him, and about to be carried into slavery, 
drove Hermann to mad fiiry. But his attemptjs to rescue 
her were unavailing. Thusnelda was taken to Some, and 
there she bore Thumelicus. She with her baWand brother, 
Siegesmund, was forced to grace the triumph of Ger- 
manicus, and the traitor Siegast saw his daughter, son, 
and grandson dragging chains before the chariot of the 
conqueror of his people. Grief probably put a speedy 
end to the sorrows of this noble woman. The wrath of 
Bome against the conqueror of Varus expended itself in 
converting his son into a common gladiator. If, as is 
supposed, the beautiful marble statue of a German 
woman, which adorns the Loggia de' Lanzi at Florence, 

^ Properly Tuiscahild, the maid of Tuiaoo. 

Women. 1 73 

be a representation of Thusnelda, it will show that the 
grandeur of soul of the barbarian did not fail to make its 
impress on the Komans. 

In contrast to this tragic female figure, stands the 
blue-eyed, fair-haired Swabian Bisula, a girl taken in his 
Alemannic war by Valentinian I., and presented by him to 
Ausonius. From slave she speedily became the poet's mis- 
tress, and he fell in fetters at her feet. Her form is not heroic 
— it is but that of a sweet G-erman maid, ' but oh I ' sighs 
the infisttuated poet, * by her natural charms she eclipses 
all the pampered and tricked-up puppets of Bome.' 

The ancient Grermans prided themselves, like the 
modem Iroquois, on not yielding to weak emotion. They 
acted in obedience to their hearts, but sternly repressed 
every exhibition of tenderness. Parents loved their chil- 
dren, but did not fondle them ; husbands loved their 
wives without, like their descendants, hugging them in 
public and maundering over their ale of hymeneal happi- 
ness. The strong natures of that vigorous age, when once 
the barriers gave way, burst forth in whirlwinds. Slow 
distilling tears did not bedew their cheeks, but the flood 
of sorrow flowed mingled with blood from their eyes, and 
stained both face and raiment.' Men and women alike 
blushed to yield to light emotion, but not to violent 
passion. In her sorrow, Brunhild smites her hands to- 
gether, so that the walls re-echo, dnd the birds on the roof 
fly scared away. On hearing the news of Siegfried's 
death, her bitter laughter shakes the house.^ The hall 
rocks at the queen's weeping.' The mighty bosom heaves 
with such tempestuous emotion, that the necklace is burst, 
and the starry ornaments fly over the floor.^ The muscles 

> Wernhold, ^pit^leg, Formul, 1847, p. 81. Grhnm : And/reM and 
Elene. ' Stenmnd JSdda, 208. 

* Chtdmn, 927. * Wernhold, Spioil p. 2S. 

174 Germany, Present and Past. 

of Egil work when his son dies, so that his kirtle is rent.' 
Joy at the restitution of his master bursts the iron bands 
round the heart of the trusty Eckehard. 

Anger, hatred, sorrow, and love are wild spirits, and 
among the Old Germans none would yield to them with- 
out a battle ; and each, when it possessed man or woman, 
wrought him up to Berserkir frenzy. 

Let me attempt to put together a mosaic picture of 
the ancestresses of the Grerman people — the prototypes, 
strongly outlined and harshly coloured, of the women, who, 
with fainter outline and faded tints,are the daughters, wives, 
and mothers of modem Germany. The characters are the 
same, but finer drawn; not scored in charcoal with a 
burnt stick, but traced with a crowquill, the downstrokes 
hairs, the upstrokes microscopic. 

Saces have their special characteristics as well as 
persons ; and these individualising characteristics re- 
appear again and again in their history, modified it may 
be, but unmistakeable, if only we look for them. 

We English are a mixture of many races, and our 
characteristic is Heterc^neity. Women accentuate the 
peculiarities of the race to which they belong. Corinthian 
brass was the melting and flowing together of all the 
metals in a blazing city. It was a precious and highly 
esteemed amalgam. Let us flatter ourselves that we are 
the Corinthian brass of Europe, only let us not forget 
that we have not the individuality of the Celt, or the Saxon, 
or the Angle, or the Jute, or the Boman, or the Dane, or 
the Norman. Each, when melted in, lost its distinguish- 
ing features. It is so with our women — they are the most 
beautiful, shining, precious of amalgams, but they have 
no organic, original individuality. Look at the whole 
course of our history, look at the women of the present 

> Aigla, c. 81. 

Women. 175 

day. They have a little of everything, of the vivacity of 
the Celt and the domesticity of the Saxon, the adventure 
of the Dane, and the dignity of the Norman. 

It is of all these little mickles that the muckle is made 
up. The soup is one of many ingredients, but it is not 
stock. It is not so with the German women : they lack 
a thousand of those charms which make the English- 
woman the most perfect lady in the world. But they 
have, what our women have not, an original stamp and 
an original atomic weight of their own — a thing no com- 
pound substance can claim. 

In the third century, Aurelian celebrated his victory 
over the Goths in Hungary and over the Marcomanni ; and 
in his triumphal train strode Gothic maidens taken 
weapon in hand. Among them was Hunila, whose beauty 
and wit so captivated the conquerors, that a noble Roman 
offered her his hand. Claudian (fifth century), in sing- 
ing the victory of Stilicho over Alaric, mentions an 
Ostrogothic wife, who urged her husband to war with the 
words, ' Oh, why have I a man so inert ? Happy are the 
Visigothic wives, for they dress themselves in the spoils of 
cities, and have Greek maidens as their slaves.' 

It was due to the persistency of the Germanic element 
among the Lombard conquerors of the Italian plains that 
the history of Paul Wamefried rises so high above the 
dry records of that age. It is a German national epic, in 
spite of the Latin garb it wears. It supplies us with 
many portraits of women, gloomy rather than gay, but 
portraits showing how great was the individuality and 
soul power of the Lombard woman, which had raised her 
from a chattel to a motive power in the household and in 
the State — a place she had won for herself, in spite of 
laws traditional through centuries, with her sword and 
bow — at least, with her hand and tongue. 

176 Germany, Present a7id Past. 

Far back in the gloom of myth appears the weird 
Sumetrude, daughter of Tato, whose freakish love of 
blood led to fiirious war between the Lombards and the 
Herulii. On firmer historic ground stands the ofb-sung 
tragic tale of Rosamund, the wife of Alboin. She was 
daughter of Kimimund, kiug of the Gepidse, slain by 
Alboin in battle. Out of the skull of the old king Alboin 
had flEishioned a goblet. One night at Verona, at a 
banquet, flushed with pride and wine, the Lombard king 
brimmed the hidequs bowl and presented it to his wife. 
Bosamund drank, and registered with the draught a vow 
of vengeance. At her bidding Helmeric, the squire, slew 
the king as he lay sleeping in the heat -of the day ; he 
could not defend himself, for Bosamund^ had tied his 
sword to the bed-post. 

Woman's nature is gentle and peaceable, but it is like 
those heaven-reflecting tarns of which folks tell, that if 
the tiniest pebble be dropped in to ruffle the surface, the 
depths chum, the sky overhead is overcast with storm, and 
the lake lashes itself into fury and foam. Passion takes 
hold of the female heart more readily than that of man. 
Her heart is more tindery or less protected. Then, with the 
concentration of all her powers, with no forethought and 
less restraint, she pursues her object over rock and ravine. 
Grentleness, pity, shame — all that are most dear and most 
revered — she tramples under foot, regardless of everything 
save her one object, and that attained, she totters and 
fidls a wreck. Love, jealousy, revenge, form links in one 
chain, and many a woman who has yielded herself to the 
first has been bound and strangled by the others. 

Is this overdrawn? Perhaps so, when speaking of 
compound natures in an artificial state of society ; not so 
of original souls in fresh natural growth. 

Of revenge there are or were two sorts, one inferior 

Women, 177 

and personal, the other the carrying out of rude justice at 
a period when justice waa executed by individuals and not 
by the State. Such was blood-vengeance ; and women 
had a right to it — felt it a duty laid on them by their 
love and kinship. King Volsung and all his sons, save 
Sigmund and a grandchild Sinfiotli, were killed by Siggeir, 
who had married Signy, the daughter of Volsung. The 
queen meditates revenge, and excites Sigmund and Sinfiotii 
to execute it. They come to the palace of Siggeir and 
are concealed in a corner by Signy. The king's little 
son, whilst playing, discovers them, and by order of his 
mother, lest he should betray them, Sigmund and Sinfiotii 
cut the child to pieces. But the Volsungs are discovered, 
and are condemned to be buried alive. The mound is 
raised over a stone chamber, and they are lowered into it. 
But before the last slab closes the vault, the queen casts 
in a piece of meat wrapped round with straw. Sigmund, 
in tearing the flesh, finds it transfixed with his sword. 
With this he and Sinfiotii dig their way out of the mound 
and come to the royal hall, where all are asleep. They 
cast in firebrands, and the smoke and flames arouse the 
slumberers. *Know,' cries Sigmund to the king, *that 
the Volsungs are not all dead.' Then he bids his sister 
come forth in peace. Signy refuses. She has accom* 
plished her purpose, has revenged the murder of her father 
and brothers, but she will, as a true wife, die with her 
husband. Only she comes forth to give a last kiss to 
Sigmund and Sinfiotii, and then she plunges back into 
the flames. 

A picture in livelier colours is that of Theodelinda, 
daughter of the Bavarian king Craribald, whose hand was 
sought by the fair-haired young Lombard king Authvari. 
His courtship was a scrap of early romance. Full of 
desire to judge with his own eyes of his intended bride, 

VOL. I. N 

1 78 Germany, Present and Past. 

he accompanied his ambassadors in disguise as one of 
them. When Graribald consented to the marriage, the 
messengers begged that, as token of acceptance, Tbeode- 
linda might give them to drink ifvith her own hands. As 
she came with the goblet of wine to Authvari, he stroked 
her cheek and fingers. Tbeodelinda, red with shame, told 
her nurse what he had done. The wise woman answered : 
' If this man were not the king and your bridegroom, he 
would not have dared to touch you.' The married life of 
Theodelinda and Authvari was short, as it lasted but a 
year; and then the Lombards bade the widowed queen retain 
her royal prerogative and choose a second husband from 
among their chiefs. She invited to court Agilulf, Duke of 
Turin, and when he came, she met him with a cup of wine. 
The duke knelt to receive it, and respectfully kissed the 
hand of the queen. She blushed, and smiling said : ^ He 
who could kiss my lips should not be content to kiss my 
hand : ' and she chose him as the successor of Authvari. 

A pleasanter picture still is that of Queen Bathild. 
Archimbold, mayor of the palace in the reign of Dagobert, 
had bought a Sazon slave-girl. She is thus described by 
one of her contemporaries: — 'Her pious and. admirable 
conversation attracted the admiration of the prince and 
all his ministers. For she was of a benignant spirit and 
sober manners, prudent and shy, never scheming evil, 
never light in talk, or pert in speech, but in all her actions 
upright. She was of Saxon race ; in shape graceful and 
pleasing, with a bright face and a staid gait, and as such 
she found favour with the prince, so that he constituted 
her his cup-bearer, and as such, dealing honestly, she 
stood often by him, ministering to him. But so far from 
being lifted up by her position, she showed the utmost 
humility to her fellow-servants, cheerfully obeying them, 
ministering reverently to her elders, often taking the 

Women, 1 79 

shoes oif their feet, scraping and cleaning them, and 
bringing them their washing water, and mending their 
clothes also. All this she did without a murmur, with 
gentle and pious alacrity.' Now it fell out that Archim- 
bold lost his wife, and he looked about for some one to 
fill her place. His eyes rested with somewhat undue 
warmth on the modest Saxon girl, and she, fearing his 
intentions, hid herself among the maids of the kitchen, 
dishevelled her light hair, begrimed her face, and worked 
in rags, so that the mayor thought she had gone clean 
away, and after a while he forgot her and married some one 
else. Then Bathild shook off her tatters, braided her 
flaxen hair, washed her sunny face, and shone forth in her 
accustomed place. But she had fled the mayor to catch 
the king. How Glovis became attached to her is not 
recorded, but certain it is that he asked her to be his 
lawful wife, and to sit by his side on the throne of the 
Franks. So, at the age of nineteen, in 649, she was 
married to Clevis II. As queen she exercised a most 
salutary influence over the mind of her husband, and 
persuaded him to enact many wholesome laws. 

Horace Walpole has said that no woman ever invented 
a new religion, but that no new religion ever made way 
without woman's help. Theodelinda was a nursing mother 
to the Church among the Lombards, Bertha to Christianity 
among the Anglo-Saxons, and Bathild among the Franks. 
She exerted herself to the utmost of her power to relieve 
the necessities of the poor and ameliorate the condition of 
the serf. After six years of married life Bathild was left a 
widow and regent for her son. The gentle queen remem- 
bered her sorrows as a slave. She forbade the retention 
or purchase of Christian slaves, and she spent all the 
money she could spare to redeem children from bondage. 
She sent ambassadors to all the European courts to an- 

N 2 

i8o Germany, Present and Past. 

nounce that the sale of Franks was strictly forbidden, and 
that any slave who set foot on French soil should be held 
from that moment to be free. 

Very different was Somilda, the wife of Gisiilf, Lom*- 
bard Duke of Friuli. When Cacan, king of the Avars, 
invaded the land, slew the duke, and besi^ed the duchess 
in Forum-Julii, she was so struck with his good looks that 
she offered to deliver up the city to him if he would marry 
her. He agreed, the gates were opened, and he took her 
to wife for one night. Next day he sent her to be im- 
paled alive, saying : ^ The stake is the only husband a 
traitress merits.' 

Her four daughters showed a more noble spirit. To 
save their honour they stuffed the bosoms of their dresses 
with decayed flesh of fowls, and the Avars thought the 
young ladies too odorous to desire to make their near 

Gundeberga, wife of King Charoald, proved her fidelity 
to her husband by an act more forcible and expressive 
than deserving of imitation. When the noble Adalulf 
whispered at table his passion in her ear, she turned round 
with Teutonic leisureliness, and then, as he looked for 
his answer, abruptly spat in his face. 

Badegund was the daughter of a Thuringian prince 
killed by his own brother Hermannfried. Theodebert and 
Clothair defeated Hermannfried in a great battle on the 
Unstrut, and took Erfurt, his capital. Radegund and her 
brother fell into the hands of Clothair, and he made her 
his wife, or one of his wives. He murdered her brother 
in cold blood, and then, unable to endure his infidelity 
and brutality any longer, she fled to Noyon, where she 
appealed to St. Medard, the bishop, to release her from the 
hated union and consecrate her to Grod. He refused, 
mindful of the apostolic precept : ^ Let not her who is 

Women. 1 8 \ 

married seek to be released.' But she burst into the 
sanctuary, wrapped in the monastic veil, and going to the 
foot of the altar, charged the bishop : ^ If thou delayest to 
dedicate me, thou fearest man more than God, and He 
will require my blood at thy hands.' Then he extended 
his hand and laid it on her head. Clothair, who had 
found her presence some slight restraint, speedily solaced 
himself for her absence, and sent her money for the 
building of a convent. With this she erected the Abbey 
of St. Cross at Poitiers. There her sorrow over the miseries 
of her age, which she had vainly attempted to relieve, 
and its brutality, which she had been powerless to soften, 
found a vent in elegiac lamentations, which her friend, 
Venantius Fortunatus, clothed in Latin verse. In his 
elegy on the ruin of Thuringia, the poet lets the queen 
say : ^ I saw the women carried off into slavery, with 
bound hands and flying hair, their bare feet dabbled in 
the blood of their husbands, or treading the corpses of 
their brothers. All wept, and I wept with them, for the 
dead, and yet more for the living. When the wind wails, 
I listen : perchance in the blast will steal by the ghost of 
one of my dear ones. Where are those I have loved ? I 
ask the wind that whistles, and would that a bird would 
answer me out of it I ' 

Mention must be made of two women, two queens-- 
terrible daughters of Jamsaxa — Fredigund and Brunehild. 
They were of very different origin and condition, and after 
a parallel career of fortune ended differently. 

Fredigund was the daughter of poor peasants, and at 
an early period in the train of Audovera, first wife of 
King Chilperic. She was beautiful and ambitious, bold 
and unscrupulous, and she attracted the attention, and, 
before long, awakened the passion, of the king. She 
pursued her unexpected fortune with ardour and without 

1 82 Germany y Present and Past. 

hesitation. Queen Audovera was her first obstacle and 
her first victim; she was repudiated and banished to a 
convent. But Fredigund's hour was not yet come ; for 
Chilperic married Galswintha, daughter of the Visigoth 
King Athanagild, whose youngest daughter, Brunehild, 
had just been united to Sigebert, King of Austrasia, the 
brother of Chilperic. By Fredigund's orders Galswintha 
was strangled in her bed, and then Chilperic married 
her. She and Brunehild were now sisters-in-law, and on 
Brunehild lay the sacred duty of avenging her sister's 
murder on the low-born intruder who had stepped over 
her body to the throne. At her instigation Sigebert took 
arms against his brother, but emissaries of Fredigund 
assassinated him in his tent, and Brunehild fell into the 
hands of her brother-in-law. The right of asylum belong- 
ing to the cathedral of Paris saved her life, but she was 
sent to Bouen. There, at the very time, happened to be 
Meroveus, son of Chilperic by Audovera. Seeing Brune- 
hild in her beauty and her trouble, he loved her, and 
PrsBtextatus, Bishop of Rouen, was thought to have 
incautiously joined their hands.^ That sealed the fate of 
the prince and the prelate. Praetextatus was stabbed in 
the armpit in church by an assassin commissioned by the 
queen, and Meroveus, a fugitive, besought a faithful 
servant to kill him, that he might not fall into the cruel 
hands of his stepmother. Chilperic had another son by 
Audovera ; he was poignarded and Audovera strangled. 
But the sum of crimes was not yet complete. In 584 
King Chilperic, when returning from the chase, was struck 

' The charge was brought against him before a Council of Paris, bat 
he stoutly denied having done so, even when the bishops who tried him 
urged him to confess that he had, to relieve them from their difficulties, 
as Chilperic and Fredigund were determined to make them condemn 
Praetextatus, whether guilty or not. — Greg. Turon. (who was present at 
the Council), H. Franc, iz. 39, 42. 

Women, 183 

two mortal blows by a man who took to rapid flight, and 
a cry was raised of ' Treason, it is the hand of the Aus- 
trasian Childebert*' But the care taken to have the cry 
raised proved its falsity ; it was the hand of Fredigund 
herself, anxious lest Chilperic should discover a guilty 
intrigue existing between her and Landri, an officer of 
her household. Chilperic left a son, named Clothair, a 
few months old, of whom his mother Fredigund became 
the sovereign guardian. She spent the last thirteen 
years of her life in defending him against the enemies 
she had raised, and endangering him by new plots and 
crimes. She was a true type of a strong-witted, iron- 
headed, remorseless woman in barbarous times, her charac- 
ter unredeemed by one trait of womanliness or nobility. 
She started low down in the scale, and rose very high, 
without any corresponding elevation of soul. She died 
quietly in her bed at Paris in 597, leaving the throne of 
Neustiia to her son, Clothair II. 

Very superior to her in mental power and greatness of 
character, but scarcely her inferior in wickedness, was her 
rival Brunehild — a woman who, in another age, or among 
other circumstances, — who even perhaps then, but for the 
fact that Fredigimd was her contemporary — would have 
been a great and good woman, a Duchess Hadwig or a 
Maria Theresa, instead of an Empress Catharine. She was 
a princess of the Visigoths, the German race which had 
most readily assimilated Roman culture, and she came to 
the Burgundian court, the most barbarous and brutal of all. 
Venantius Fortunatus, little dreaming what course she 
would run, saw in the beautiful and modest bride of Sige- 
bert the dawning of a great hope, and sang her praises 
with enthusiasm, lauding alike her beauty, her goodness, 
and her wisdom. Brunehild had no occasion for crimes 
to become a queen ; and in spite of those she committed, 

184 Germany, Present and Past. 

and in spite of her outbursts, and the moral irregularities 
of her long life, she bore, amidst her passions and her 
power, the stamp of courageous frankness and intellectual 
nobility, which places her far above the lustful savage who 
was her rival. Brunehild took a practical interest in all 
public works, highways, bridges, monuments, and the pro- 
gress of material civilisation. She cherished the poor 
flowers of literature which appeared in that rugged soil 
and under that chilling sky. In the royal domains, and 
wherever she went, her charities showed that she had a 
heart which felt for the sorrows and servitude of the poor. 
But the right of blood revenge fell to her. The murderess 
of her sister and of her husband must not remain uncha&- 
tised. Intoxicated with power, pride, above all with hate, 
she threw herself with female impetuosity and manly de- 
termination into the whirlpool of political strife, caring 
little if she were herself submerged, if only she could first 
grip and drown her enemies. St. Desiderius, bishop of 
Vienne, had his brains dashed out by her orders, and for a 
less reason than the murder of St. Prseteztatus by Fredi- 
gund. St. Columbanus, the great Irish missionary, who 
denounced her irregularities, was banished by her from 
the dear solitude of the Vosges. Brunehild on one side, 
and Fredigund on the other, fanned to fresh fury the 
embers of strife, whenever they showed signs of waxing 
cold. At length the hellish drama closed in 614 with a 
scene of unparalleled horror. Seventeen years after the 
death of Fredigund, when Brunehild was eighty years of 
age, she fell into the hands of the son, as she had once 
before into those of the husband, of her rival. No 
sanctuary could save her now. Clothair charged her with 
having caused the death of ten princes of the Merovingian 
line. Then, after having her tortured during three days, 
he had her exposed to the derision of the camp at Chalons, 

Women. 185 

seated on a camel. Lastly, she was bound by her long 
white hair, a hand and a foot, to the tail of a wild horse, 
and was kicked, literally limb from limb, by the furious 
and frightened animal. 

We have seen some instances of the esteem in which 
Teutonic women held their honour. There were Lucretias 
and Judiths also among them. The Lombard prince 
Sigehard fell in love with the beautiful wife of Nannigo, 
one of his officers. When she indignantly rejected his 
advances, be sent the husband on an embassy to Africa, 
and this left the unhappy woman in his power. From the 
moment of her disgrace the wife laid aside all her gay 
clothing, and covered herself with rags ; she washed and 
anointed herself no more, and lay on the bare earth. 
When Nannigo returned, as her welcome, she bade him 
smite off her head, for his honour was stained. Nannigo 
sought to comfort her. He raised her, and made her 
bathe and adorn herself as of old. But the heart of the 
noble woman was broken, and she never smiled again.* 
A Frank mai^ was her own avenger. When insulted by a 
noble, named Amalo, she caught up his sword and smote 
him a mortal wound on the head. He lived long enough 
to prevent his servants from falling on her, and King 
Childobert took her under his protection from the ven* 
geance of the kinsmen of Amalo.^ 

Many touching instances of wifely devotion might be 
quoted. Bertha, the wife of Gerard of Boussillon, clings 
to him, though she knows his heart is estranged from her 
and fixed on another ; and when he falls into misfortune, 
and must secrete himself in wild and desert places, she 
follows him, comforts him, raises him, and finally rescues 
him. We have another example in Nanna, wife of the 
god Baldur. The husband dies through Loki's wiles, and 

> Chr^n, SaUiem. c. 65. * Qreg. Turon. H, F. iz. 27. 

1 86 Germany y Present and Past. 

•■ ■ ■ ' I . ' 

the funeral pyre is raised on a ship, which is sent adrift to 
sea. But Nanna cannot bear the sight, and her heart 
breaks, No less devoted is Signy, the wife of Loki. He 
is condemned to be bound by the entrails of his son to the 
rock, and Skadi, whose father he had slain, hangs a poi- 
sonous serpent above him, so that the venom drops on his 
face. Signy will not desert him ; she sits ever at his side in 
the heart of the mountains, catching the venom in a bowl, 
This lasts till the end of the world. Only when she goes 
away to empty the bowl does the venom fall on the face of 
Loki ; and then he writhes in his agony, and the earth 

In the German story of the Nibelungen, Kriemhild 
is the great example of love stronger than death. From 
the moment that the beloved husband is found lying 
before her door, transfixed by Hagen's hand, her only 
thought and aim is to avenge his death on his murderers. 
For this she leaves her home on the banks of the green 
Khine, marries the Hungarian king, Etzel, and sacrifices 
the lives of her brothers, husband, son, and followers. 
When her purpose is accomplished, when with her own 
hand she has dealt Hagen, bound in a dungeon, his death- 
wound, then the blow of Hildebrand's sword is a c(ywp de 
grace. Her object is achieved, and life has no more charms 
for her. 

Like Kriemhild in the German story, so is Brunhild, 
in the Northern lays, a mighty example of womanly fide- 
lity. Siegfried dissolves the spell which Odin has cast 
over the headstrong virgin, and he betrothes her to himself. 
But by enchantment he is made to forget Brunhild as a 
dream of the night, and he seeks her hand for Gunther, 
whose sister Kriemhild he has married. But in Brunhild's 
heart the oath is not forgotten, her fidelity is not shaken. 
With agonising pain she sees the naan who belonged to 

Women. 187 

her by right, happy at the side of another. * Like ice and 
snow cold resolves come over her/ and she stirs up 
Giinther to cause the death of Siegfried and his son. With 
the wolf the cub must perish. The deed is accomplished. 
When Brunhild hears the piercing cry of Kriemhild, she 
laughs so loud that the rafters ring. Now the hated rival's 
joy is dissolved, and done for ever, and now in the nether 
world Brunhild can be with her betrothed. She stabs 
herself, and is burned beside him on his pyre, with a sword 
between them. Such love and fidelity are indeed terrible, 
but they are great. In spite of man's unfaithfulness, the 
soul of the woman remains constant, and her very love 
leads her to destroy the beloved rather than let him enjoy 
life with another. In death she may be united to him at 
whose side she could not rest in life. It was a feeling such 
as this which filled the heart of Ingeborg, daughter of 
Crudmund of Glasisfeld, when she tore out the eyes of her 
lover, lest he should see and admire maidens more beautiful 
than herself.^ 

In the Norse version of the story of Brunhild we see 
the Teutonic woman in primeval savagery and grandeur, 
surrounded with a mythological halo. In the German 
version of the tale we see Kriemhild — at least in the first 
part of the tragedy — as the ideal of German womanhood. 
Kriemhild is indeed German maidenliness impersonified. 
She is beautiful, pure, gentle. 

As the moon in brightness 
White ontshines each star, 
And through clouds its radiance 
Streameth soft and far. 

When she first meets Siegfried in the rose-garden at 
W^orms — 

Stepped the fair one gently, 
Like the morning red 

' Forrvmennir Sognr, iii. 141. 

1 88 Germany, Present and Past. 

Breaking o*er the mountains, 
Shade and sorrow fled. 

WTio would dream of the depth of passion and stoutness 
of purpose in that placid being ? When Siegfried becomes 
her husband, she loves him as her lord and hero. It is 
her love which fills her with pride, and impels her to resent 
the slights of Brunhild. Then comes Siegfried's murder, 
and the transformation of the gentle, sunny Eriemhild 
into a monster of remorseless, unwomanly ferocity. If 
Kriemhild be one ideal of the old G-erman world, Gudrun 
is another, the pattern and prototype of woman, patient and 
forgiving, therefore unlike Kriemhild ; but true to death, 
and therefore like her too. Kriemhild is, though bap- 
tised, a heathen at heart. Gudrun has better learned her 
catechism. The former is the active, the latter the pas- 
sive heroine. In quietness and in confidence Gudrun 
possesses her soul. Carried away from her home and her 
betrothed, Herwig, she endures the ill-treatment of Gerlind 
with patience ; and no hard usage will make her break 
her troth and take the Norman prince, Hartmuth. Abased 
to be a handmaid, Washing clothes in the sea waves, her 
bare feet in the snow, and with but a shift to screen her 
from the icy blast, she never loses her maidenly dignity, 
and no insults crush or turn to gall her noble heart* 
When Herwig comes to the rescue, she steps between the 
conquerors and the conquered to secure peace and the 
end of bloodshed, and wins mercy from those flushed with 
victory for those who have ill-used her. 

I think that when we look at some — I may say most 
— of the sketches given us of the Teatonic woman, 
and see her, vehement, eating out her heart, consuming 
herself and others, we may understand how it is that so 
many mediaeval German writers make moderation the 
chief glory to be sought of German woman, the chief 

Women. 189 

virtue to be acquired, without which she is a danger to 
society. Gottfried of Strassburg, the author of the 
* Tristan,' sang in the twelfth century : 

Yon alien Dingen auf dieser Welt, 
Die je der Sonne Licht erbellt, 
let keins so selig wie das Weib 
Das stets ihr Leben und ihren Leib 
Und ihre Sitten dem Mom ergiebt. 

And Odilo of Cluny thinks the highest word of praise he 
can say of Adelheid, widow of Lothair and wife of Otto 
the Great, is that there was, in spite of her cruel usage, 
her great gift«, her high exaltation, ' moderation in hen' 

With one picture more I shall clone this gallery. 

Hadewig, Duchess of Swabia, widow of Duke Burk- 
hardt, was the most remarkable woman of the tenth 
century. Above the end of the Lake of Constance, com- 
manding the whole sweep of the Alps from the Algau to 
Mont Blanc, rises the volcanic crag of the Hohentwiel, 
crowned with the ruins of a mighty castle. There sat 
Hadewig, left a widow in the bloom of her days, ruling 
Swabians and Alemanni, and reading Ovid and Virgil 
with the assistance of Ekkehard, a young monk of St. 
Gall, whom she had borrowed of the abbot to be her 
instructor. They read and studied together the old poets, 
but ever with open doors and in the presence of a servant, 
that the breath of scandal might not mar the intimacy.' 
The lady Hadewig was beautiful as she was learned, but 
she was self-willed and violent as either. As a child she 
had been destined to be the wife of the Byzantine, Con- 
stantine VI., and had been instructed in Greek by an 

> That has been reserved for a modem writer, Scheffel, in his 
SkhehaH^ an historical romance much belauded. Germany has produced 
no Walter Soott, so she must glorify a G. P. R. James. EkhoKaH has 
much local colour and a strong antiquarian smack, but no merits as a 
work of fiction. 

190 Germany, Present afid Past 

eunuch sent for the purpose. But she had not acquired 
Greek graces. When, in a fit of wrath she swore * By 
Hadewig's life,' all about her trembled. 

Even her poor preceptor Ekkehard shivered in his 
habit when one day the Duchess ordered a servant * to 
have hair and skin beat off' — i.e. his hair wrenched out by 
the roots and his hide flayed with rods — ^because he had 
unintentionally neglected a duty. A modern novelist 
makes the Duchess fall in love with the monk ; stern his- 
tory relates that she had him one day mercilessly horse- 
whipped. The * dread lady ' Hadewig died at an advanced 
age in 994. She was no blue-stocking. She loved the 
Muses, but she ruled like a man, and she led her subjects 
against the invading Huns and routed them. 

I cannot say, I fear, of this chapter, as Florian did of 
his Pastorals, that there are only sheep there, no wolves. 
For though there are, and always have been, German 
women gentle and dumb as sheep, there are, and always 
have been, I will not say wolves, among them, but very 
lively kids, jumping hurdles and climbing the face of 
precipices. Brunhild, Kriemhild, Hadewig, are the true 
ancestresses of Geier-Wally, Ernestine, and Felicitas of 
modem romance ; of the Rahel, Brachmann, and Daniel 
Stem of modem reality ; of the tempestuous-souled, 
emancipated women who boil up to the surface of society 
every day. And Gudrun, Bathild, and Bertha have also 
their representatives in fiction and in fact ; in the Gretchen 
of Goethe, in Auerbach's Barfdssele, in Kleist's Kathchen 
von Heilbronn, and in almost every household of Germany 
— ^the sunbeam that lightens it, the flower that fills the 
house with fragrance. 

The first age of German history and romance shows us 
side by side two types of women — two ideals, the one 
impetuous and undisciplined, the other retiring and 

Women. 191 

domesticated. The child is father to the man. I pass 
over the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the schooling 
and the coming out of womanhood, to resume my 
sketches in the modem period, the eighteenth and nine- 
teenth centuries. We shall see that the types remain, 
though modified and disguised by the circumstances and 
fashion of the period. 

On the very threshold of modem times stands a cha- 
racteristic figure, Sophia Charlotte, Princess of Brunswick 
Liineburg, the second wife of Frederic I., who in 1700 
exchanged the Electoral cap of Brandenburg for the fioyal 
crown of Prussia at the price of 10,000 men.^ As a bride 
she is described in the ' Mercurgalant ' of 1 684 as slender, 
clear- complezioned, and combining the beauties of large 
blue eyes and a profusion of glossy black hair. Frederic 
loved pomp and ceremony, was badly educated and ill- 
shaped, a mixture of shrewdness, selfishness, and meanness. 
Sophia Charlotte, unable to endure his society, withdrew 
to Liitzelburg, where she kept her simple court, sur- 
rounded by men of letters and devoted to the study of 
philosophy, asking Iicibnitz more questions than the 
sava/nt could answer. ^Madame,' said he impatiently 
one day, 'you want to know the wherefore of every 

She spoke French, English, and Italian fluently, knew 
Latin, and was an accomplished musician. But there was 
none of the song and sweetness of life in her soul. Her 
mind was masculine, and only feminine so far that it was 
uncreative. She well deserved the title of Hhe queen 
philosopher ' given her by the people — an honour little to 
the taste of her orthodox son, Frederic William I., who 
said of her, ' My mother was a wise woman, but a bad 

> Whom he sold to the Emperor as mercenaries for the right to call 
himself a king. 

192 Germany y PreseJii and Past, 

Christian.' A woman without religion is a flower without 
scent, and if (lipped in the paraffin of philosophy acquires 
pungency, but not fragrance. 

Her morals were pure as rock-crystal, and the drops of 
marital and maternal affection expressed from her were 
the thawings of an icicle. She died in 1705 with a not^ 
of interrogation on her tongue ; with philosophic com- 
posure addressing her ladies-in-waiting : ^ Do not bewail 
me. I am going now to learn the answer to all my queries 
into the origin of things which Leibnitz could not give. 
I am going to solve the mysteries of space and of infinity, 
of being and of not-being. As for the King my husband, 
I shall supply him with the opportunity of making a 
public display of my funeral such as he dearly loves.' 

A more genial, and a far grander character, was the 
great Empress Maria Theresa. Few men or women who 
have worn crowns have succeeded in exerting such a 
fascination as this daughter and successor of the last of 
the Habsburgs. In the spring of her life, nobly built, her 
dignity of majesty and charm of womanhood combined to 
turn the scale of her fortune at the most eventful period 
in her career. France, England, Saxony, and Prussia 
were combined with Bavaria to reject her claims. The 
Elector of Cologne acknowledged her only by the title of 
Archduchess; the Elector Palatine sent her a letter by 
the conunon post, superscribed ' To the Archduchess Maria 
Theresa ; ' and the King of Spain refused her any other 
title than Duchess of Tuscany. Her Ministry were 
timorous, desponding, irresolute, worn out with age, or 
quelled by the impending dangers. Her only hope lay in 
Hungary, where but shortly before the sovereignty of the 
Habsburgs had been established by the efibsion of torrents 
of blood. She flew to Presburg, convoked the magnates, 
and appeared among them attired in Hungarian costume. 

Women. • 193 

' '^~^'^^~~~^~ ^— »— ^— ^»^.^— ^ ' « ■ » 

the crown of St. Stephen on her head and his sword at 
her side. Radiant with beauty am} spirit, she addressed 
the Diet, and called on the nobles as ^cavaliers to stand 
by a woman in her jeopardy. The whole assembly, fired 
with sadden enthusiasm, burst into the unanimous shout, 
* MoriamuT pro rege nostro Maria Theresa ! ' and took 
the field at the head of their serfs, 30,000 cavalry, and the 
wild hordes of Pandiu^ and Croats. 

There was nothing superficial, frivolous, imperfect, 
artificial in this splendid woman. She was true to her 
heart's core, towering in every point but one — sagacity in 
the choice of Ministers — above that English Queen to 
whom she has been often likened, Elizabeth. Elizabeth 
was great because of her Ministers ; Maria Theresa was 
great in herself. Elizabeth was a mixture of meanness in 
money matters, vanity, and jealousy ; Maria Theresa was 
a great pruner down of expenses. Notwithstanding the 
loss of Naples and of Silesia, which used to bring in six 
millions of florins, her skilful administration raised the 
revenues from thirty to thirty-six millions. She was full 
of self-respect, but in no way vain ; once only did she 
lower herself, and that was in addressing Madame de 
Pompadour as her * dear cousin ; ' but that was in a 
' moment of urgency, when everything depended on de- 
taching France from the Bavarian cause. With the 
tenderest love to her faithless husband, she was above the 
jealousy of woman. When she was leaving the deathbed 
of Charles YI., she passed his mistress, the Princess of 
Auersperg, crouching in a comer, neglected by the ser- 
vants. Maria Theresa stopped, turned, and extending 
her hand to her said : ' My dear princess, what have not 
we lost this day I ' 

She was a woman with the most delicate sensibility of 
a female heart controlled by strong principle ; she de- 
VOL. I. o 

194 Germany, Present and Past, 

manded purity of morals from her court and people, and 
showed a dazzling example of a blameless life in an age of 
unblushing licentiousness. As regent she was despotic ; 
but her despotism was patriarchal and idyllic. She was 
pious, but not bigoted ; a devout Catholic, but ready to 
sign the expulsion of the Jesuits from the realm.^ The 
warm impulses of her heart broke through the restraints 
of Spanish formality which had enveloped the court ; as 
when, on her husband's coronation, her clear bell-like 
voice led the cheers; more remarkably in 1768, when the 
news reached her of the birth of her first grandson, the 
child of the Grand-Duke Leopold. The news was brought 
to her as she was stepping into bed. Instantly, forgetful 
of her dSahabilUj she flew through the corridor of the 
palace into the royal lodge of the court theatre, and 
leaning over the breasting, communicated the glad tidings 
to the people in the pit in their own Viennese dialect. 
' Der Polde (Leopold) hat ein Bhuaba (Bube), und grad 
zum Bindband auf mein Hochzeittag I-^Kler ist galant I ' ^ 
The Princess Amelia of Brunswick married in 1756, at 
the age of sixteen, to the Duke of Weimar, shall lead us 
out of the circle of royalty into that of literature. The 
union was one in which the heart had little share. ^ From 
childhood,' she wrote, ^ my lot has been nothing but self- 
sacrifice. Never was education so little fitted as mine to 
form one destined to rule others. Those who directed it 
themselves needed direction ; she to whose guidance I was 
entrusted, was the sport of every passion, subject to in- 
numerable wayward caprices, of which I became the un- 
.resisting victim. Unloved by my parents, ever kept in 

* A copy of her confessions made to a Jesuit priest was sent her 
from Spain, whither the confessor had forwarded it to the General of 
his Order. This opened her eyes to the character of the Order. 

s * Our Leopold has got a boy on the very anniversary of my 
marriage, and he is such a beauty I * 

Women. 1 95 

the background, I was regarded as the outcast of the 
&mily. The sensitive feelings I had received from nature 
made me keenly alive to this cruel treatment ; it often drove 
me to despair ; I became silent, reserved, concentrated, 
obstinate. I suffered myself to be reproached, insulted, 
becUeri^ without uttering a word, and still as far as possible 
persisted in my own course. At length, in my sixteenth 
year, I was married. In my seventeenth I became a 
mother. It was the first unmingled joy I had ever known. 
It seemed to me as though a host of new and varied feel- 
ings had sprung to life with my child. My heart became 
lighter, my ideas clearer ; I gained more confidence in 
myself. In my eighteenth year arrived the greatest epoch 
in my life. I became a mother for the second time, a 
widow, and regent of the duchy. I felt my own incapacity, 
and yet I was compelled to find everything in my own re- 
sources. Never have I prayed with deeper and truer 
devotion than at that moment. I believe I might have 
become the greatest of saints. When the first excitement 
was over, I confess, however, that my feelings were those 
of awakened vanity. Begent, and so young I To rule 
and command I An inner voice whispered. Beware I I 
listened, and reason triumphed. Truth and self-love 
struggled for the mastery, and truth prevailed. Then 
came war. My brother and nearest relatives were crowned 
with laurels. My ambition was roused. I, too, longed 
for praise. Day and night I studied to render myself 
mistress of my new duties. Then I felt how absolutely I 
needed a friend in whom I could place entire confidence. 
Many sought my favour, some by flattery, others by a show 
of disinterestedness. I seemed to accept all, in the hope 
of finding among them the pearl of great price. At 
length I did find it, and I was filled with the joy others 
experience in lighting on a vast treasure.' 

o 2 

196 Germany, Present and Past 

She speedily displayed talents for government which, 
in a wider sphere of action, might hav6 given her a name 
in history. The state of the little duchy was lamentable ; 
the treasury was empty, agriculture was neglected, the 
people were discontented. With the aid of her faithful 
ministers she succeeded in restoring something like order 
to the exhausted finances, established schools and chari- 
table asylums, and left untried no means of promoting 
the general prosperity. Disgusted with the wearisome 
etiquette to which her youth had been a victim, she 
banished all that was not absolutely indispensable to the 
due maintenance of her dignity; while in her love of 
literature she succeeded in drawing round her a galaxy 
of genius, which recalled the court of Ferrara in the days 
of Alfonso. 

Into that circle we will now enter, and see what the 
women were who associated with the great revivers of 
literature, of poetry, and art. 

The rococo period had been one, in Grermany as in France, 
of female degradation. The little courts of G-ermany had 
been filled and ruled by mistresses, abd the proudest am- 
bition of a lady was to lose her honour to a prince. A 
fever of French imitation had swept over Germany, and 
the petty sovereigns, unable to emulate the polish and 
courtesy of the Gallic court, aped its vices. PoUtesse 
rendered into German is gaucherie. The minuet is 
danced in sabots. The courts of Berlin, Stuttgart, Dres- 
den, Weimar, and Cassel had striven which could surpass 
the other in licentiousness. It was the ass of the fiible 
imitating the lapdog. Versailles exhibited the refine- 
ment of voluptuousness, these little courts vice in its 
grossness. In the midst of this degradation the ideal of 
German womanhood was lost. It had to be recovered by 
a set of experiments. There was something beautiful, if 



Women. 197 

tinreaU in the glorification of woman by the Minnesingers 
of the Middle Ages, there was something affected and 
grotesque in the idealism of the new generation of German 

As with the Minnesingers so was it with the poets of 
the transition. Woman was elevated to a pedestal on 
which she could not balance herself. They affected 
platonic affection which showed an inveterate tendency to 
lapse into liaiaons dP amour. 

They taught that love was eternal and omnipotent, 
and those who imbibed their teaching found it only to be 
a freakish elf with the life of a may-fly. They pointed 
to it as a pharos casting its dazzling beams over the toss* 
ing waters of life, and their dupes learned too late that it 
shone to teach them what to avoid, not what to aim at. 
Whilst the Duchess was surrounding herself with those 
who were to cast a blaze of light through the intellectual 
world, she was creating also a great cloaca of moral cor- 
ruption. With Don Quixote one exclaims : * Holy Mary 1 
is it possible that the lady duchess should have such 

Let us Look at Wieland, whom the Duchess Amalie 
chose to be the instructor of her son. 

When Wieland was seventeen he met at his father's 
parsonage the beautiful Sophie Outermann, sent there to 
recover her heart after an unhappy love-affair with an 
Italian. Wieland, in all the enthusiasm of youth, and 
Sophie, with the changeableness of woman, fell madly in 
love with one another. ^ It was an ideal, but a true en- 
chantment in which I lived,' wrote Wieland later, ' and 
the Sophie I loved so enthusiastically was the ideal of 
perfection embodied in her form. Nothing is more cer- 
tain than that if we had not been brought together I 
should never have been a poet.' They cast themselves on 

198 Germany y Present and Past. 

their knees, pledged their everlasting troth, and sealed 
the hond with a delirious kiss. 

Wieland went thence to Ziirich, where he wrote licen- 
tious verses ; then to Berne, where he fell in love with 
Julie Bondeli, an enthusiast, who went about preaching 
the doctrines of Rousseau. He asked her to marry him. 
* Tell me,' she inquired, * will you never love another ? ' 
' Never,' he answered, * except I find one more beautiful, 
more unfortunate, and more virtuous.' Julie had the 
sense to decline such doubtful devotion. 

Then he became the guest of Count Stadion at Wart- 
hausen. Sophie in the meantime had married M. La- 
roche. * Our friendship,' she wrote to the poet, * need 
not be broken by this union with another. We shall 
meet one another in the Land of the Blessed.' At Wart- 
hausen they met again. What the meeting must have 
been we may divine from a description of a second many 
years later, when he was thirty-eight and she forty-one, 
which, as a picture of the exaggerated sentimentality of 
the period, deserves quotation. I must, however, premise 
that the ecstasies and raptures did not prevent Wieland 
falling in love with his old love's sister. 

* We heard a coach drive up,' writes Jacobi, * and looked 
out of the window* It was Wieland ; Herr von Laroche 
ran down the steps, and I after him, to meet him at the 
door. Wieland was moved and somewhat bewildered. In 
the meantime the wife of Laroche came down — all at once 
he saw her — and I noticed him shudder. Then he turned 
aside, threw his hat impetuously on the ground, and 
tottered towards Sophie. All this took place with such an 
extraordinary agitation in all Wieland's features and per- 
son, that I felt my nerves shaken. Sophie went to meet 
her friend with wide expanded arms ; but instead of re- 
ceiving her embrace, he clasped her hands, and bowed to 

Women. 1 99 

bury his face in them. Sophie bent with heavenly sweet- 
ness over hini, and said, in a tone which no clarionette or 
dubois could equal, "Wieland — ^Wieland — yes I it is 
you 1 You are ever my dear Wieland ! " He, roused by 
this moving voice, raised himself somewhat, looked into 
the weeping eyes of his friend, and then let his face sink 
into her arms. None of us bystanders could refrain from 
tears ; mine streamed down my cheeks ; I burst into 
sobs ; I was beyond myself, and to the present moment 
cannot tell how the scene ended and we managed to find 
onr way back into the room.' 

In the end Wieland married, prosaically and respec- 
tably enough, one Dorothea Hildebrand, whom he describes 
in a letter to Gessner as ^an innocent, amiable being, 
gentle, cheerful, and unspoiled, not very pretty, but quite 
pretty enough for a worthy man who wants an agreeable 
housewife.' When Wieland was called to Weimar by the 
Duchess to undertake the education of her eldest son, 
Charles Augustus, the young prince was in his sixteenth 
year. The appointment was not unopposed ; it was not 
difficult to point out passages in his ^Agathon' and 
*Musarion'too faithfully reflecting the moral licence of his 
own life at Zurich. But the Duchess, who, despite the un- 
sullied purity of her own character, was somewhat tainted 
with the sentimentality and philosophic rationalism of the 
day, and who held the delusive though plausible theory 
that no licence of tone, or warmth of colouring, could 
injure a healthy and high-toned mind, cast these objec- 
tions to the winds. Not a few attributed the tendency 
to licentious habits in Charles Augustus, if not to the 
instructions of his tutor, at least to the perusal of his 

In 1776 the Duchess resigned the reins of government 
to her son, then aged eighteen. * My son,' were her last 

200 Germany^ Present and Past. 

words on quitting her little capital, ^ I confide to your 
hands the happiness of your subjects ; be it your care, as 
it has been mine.' 

Herder was another of those whom the Princess 
attracted to Weimar* Like Lessing, he may be regarded 
as one of the pioneers of German thought. Through 
Croethe's influence he was named court preacher and 
superintendent of the schools established by the Duchess 
at Weimar. He married Maria Cornelia Flachsland. 
This is her account of their first meeting : — 

^Herder preached. I heard the voice of an angel, 
and soul-words unheard by me before. In the afternoon 
I saw him, and stammered out my thanks. From that 
moment our souls were one. Our meeting was Grod's 
work. More intimately could not hearts be united than 
ours. My love was a feeling, a harmony. When I spoke 
with him for the first time alone no words were necessary ; 
we were one heart, one soul, no separation could divide 

Here is one of her love-letters : ^ Oh I what art thou 
doing, blessed, sweetest youth?' (he was then thirty-«even). 
' Are you dreaming of me ? Do you love me still ? Oh, 
pardon me that I ask t In your last godlike epistle you 
call me ^^ your girl," and nevertheless I am constrained to 
ask this question! I live so much in musing on you^ 
that I cannot help this. But away with the doubt, the 
dream ; you are mine, mine, ah I in my heart, eternally 
mine I Do you hear nothing stirring round you, sweetest 
of men, not in the moonlight, when by the hour I am 
alone, and yet with you ? Do you hear nothing ? not my 
heart beat to you across space? Does not my angel 
hover round you, and sigh into your soul the tidings that 
I am with you ? sympathy, sympathy 1 ' That was 
in 1776. In 178-7 Schiller saw them married, and wrote 

Women. 201 

to Komer, ^ Herder and his wife live in an egoistic soli- 
tude, and form together a sort of sacred twinity, from 
which every earthbom son is excluded. But as both are 
proud, both impetuous, this divinity comes to jars within 
itself. When they are in ill-temper with one another 
they sulk apart in different stories of the house, and letters 
pass up and down stairs incessantly, till at last the wife 
resolves to visit the room of her husband, in her own 
person. Then she enters reciting from his works the 
passage : ^^ One who has condescended thus far must be 
divine, and none can find fault in such." Then the over- 
come Herder precipitates himself into her arms, and the 
quarrel is at an end.' 

Herder's temper was too uncertain, his sensibility too 
morbidly keen to permit him to live on good terms with 
those around him. He was perpetually imagining some 
offence where none was intended, and lending every word 
and action an import of which their author probably had 
never even dreamt. Thus he fell out with GK)ethe and 
Schiller, and waged an angry feud with them. Cornelia, 
like a woman, fanned the strife, like a wife took her hus- 
band's side without questioning whether he were right or 
wrong. To Jacobi Herder wrote, * My wife is the main- 
stay, the consolation, the happiness of my life. Even in 
quick-flying transient thoughts, we are one.' 

Goethe, in his ^ Sorrows of Werther,' fed the flame of 
false sentiment which pervaded the literary world. There 
were sorrowful Werthers everywhere, despairing Lottos, 
and suicide became fashionable. Heinrich von Kleist was 
of noble birth but mediocre fortune. Endowed by nature 
with every element of happiness, he seemed on his en- 
trance into life to have before him a long career of pros- 
perity. But he was filled with the morbid sentimental 
craze of the day. He broke off an engagement of years 

202 Germany, Present and Past 

with a young and charming girl, who loved him with her 
whole heart, and was ready to make all imaginable sacri- 
fices for him, because she would not create a romance out of 
the marriage his parents were ready to approve, by secretly 
eloping with him into a wilderness, to dwell a pastoral 
life in a cabin, instead of marrying him in the open light of 
day. Wieland and Goethe befriended him, and drew out 
his rare poetic and dramatic powers. He formed the 
acquaintance of a young and beautiful woman, Henriette 
VogeL Both were passionately fond of music, and both 
were morbid to the verge of madness. On November 20, 
1811, a young man and woman descended from a carriage 
at the door of a little inn, about a mile from Potsdam, on 
the banks of a lake formed by the Havel. They supped 
merrily, passed the night in writing letters, and next 
morning, after a slight repast, set off for a walk, desiring 
that coffee should be brought them in the most picturesque 
part of the valley. They had been absent for a short 
while when two pistol-shots were heard. The servant 
who went to seek them found them corpses. Henriette 
was lying full length at a trunk of an old blasted tree, 
picturesquely posed, with her hands folded on her bosom ; 
Kleist was kneeling before her: he had shot himself 
through the brain. The curious part of the story remains 
to be told. Kleist was not in love with her. She had 
wrung from him a promise to do what she bid him, and 
then she proposed this double murder, which he, with a 
perverse sense of honour, executed according to her wishes 
and directions. 

Louise Caroline Brachmann was another of these sick 
souls. She was a woman of genius and fine poetic instinct. 
If her novels did not rise above mediocrity, this was not 
the case with her verses. At the age of twenty-three, in 
a morbid fit she flung herself over the banisters of her 

Women. 203 

father's house, without, however, doing herself a mortal 
injury. In a craze of poetic passion, when aged forty- 
three, she eloped with a man some twenty years her 
junior, and, when she found that her bliss was not equal 
to what she had been led by her idealism to suppose, she 
threw herself by night into the river. 

Goethe and Schiller were both sons of clever women. 
The Frau Rathinn Catharina Elizabeth Goethe was one 
whom princes and princesses were glad to associate with, 
for her genial wit — a wit which shone out even on her 
death-bed, when, an invitation to dinner having reached 
her, she sent back 'her regards, but unfortunately the 
Frau Eathinn cannot accept it, being forced to die.' Eliza- 
beth Dorothea Schiller, the baker's daughter, was gentle, 
retiring, and tender ; but she, as well as the ' Frau Rathinn,' 
was able to discern the buds of genius in her child, and 
devote herself to their development. 

Goethe, engaged to Lili (Anna Elizabeth Schonemann), 
whom he loved, at one time, at all events, passionately, 
actually fell madly in love with another woman he had 
never seen, but whose perfections he had conjured up in 
his brain. This was Augusta, Countess of Stolberg, and 
for her sake, whom he could not possibly marry, so strict 
was the line of demarcation dividing nobles from burger, 
he broke off his engagement to Lili. 

* My dearest,' he writes, * I will give you no name, for 
what are the names of friend, sister, beloved, bride, or 
even a word which would comprehend all these, in com- 
parison with my feelings ? I can write no more.' To this 
he added his silhouette, entreating she would send him 
hers in return ; the receipt of it seems to have filled him 
with delight. ' How completely is my belief in physiog- 
nomy confirmed,' he writes ; * that pure thoughful eye ' — 
traced in gold on black paper — * that sweet firm nose, those 

204 Germany^ Present and Past. 

dear lips. Thanks, my love, thanks* Oh I that I could 
repose in your heart, rest in youi* eyes,' 

At Weimar he loved, not indeed for the first, second, 
or third time, but with a warmth, a tenderness, and above 
all, a constancy, which neither the fair, innocent, and 
trusting Fredrica, nor the bright and graceful Lili, had 
been able to inspire. And yet the wontan to whom was 
reserved the triumph of fettering for ten long years the 
heart of one of the most gifted and most inconstant of 
mortals, was no longer in the early bloom of womanhood ; 
she had attained her thirty-third year, and Goethe was 
but twenty-eight. Beautiful, in the strict sense of the 
word, she had never been, but there was mingled grace, 
sweetness, and dignity in her demeanour, which exercised a 
singular fascination on all around her. Groethe, the 
young, the gallant, the admired of all admirers, was at 
once enthralled by her spell. ^I can only explain,' he 
writes to Wieland, ' the power she exercises over me by the 
theory of the transmigration of souls. Yes I we were 
formerly man and wife. Now, I can find no name for us, 
for the past, the future.' Unluckily Charlotte von Stein 
was already the wife of another, the mother of six children. 
That she returned the passion of her adorer cannot be 
doubted, but there is reason to believe she never trans- 
gressed the strictest bonds of virtue.^ She was married 
while yet a girl to a man infinitely her inferior in mental 
acquirements, and for whom she could have little sympathy 
or affection. She was thrown, by her position as lady of 
honour to the Dowager Duchess, into the constant society 
of the young and brilliant genius, already the day-star of 
his age and country. Proud, may be, in her conscious 
virtue, she could not prevail on herself to break an inter- 

* She got back aU her letters to the poet and destroyed them, to save 
them from becoming pubUc property. 

Women. 205 

course replete with danger to herself and him, but one 
which flattered her vanity and charmed her mind. He 
entreated her to obtain a divorce and come to his arms, 
but this she constantly refused; and then, in a fit of 
disgust, Groethe threw himself at the feet of Christiane 
Yulpius.^ Who would have imagined it possible that the 
great poet, living in a world of ideas, peopled by forms of 
superhuman beauty and ethereal refinement, should be 
charmed and held by a simple ill-instructed woman with 
gold-brown hair, fresh cheeks and lively eyes, but essen- 
tially ccmymoii in her order of mind and beauty* How- 
ever, as Lord Lytton says — 

We may live without friends, we may live without books. 
Yet civilised man cannot live withoat cooks. 

And Groethe found, in his old age, when his lively and 
clever daughter-in-law entered the household, that there 
was rest for his heated brain on the bosom of the devoted 
and careful Christiane. The cook and the sylph did not 
agree. The younger, fair, full of talent, and aristocratic 
whims, could not endure her mother-in-law, who, despite 
her good points, was nothing but a first-rate housekeeper, 
and whose charms consisted in preparing savoury dinners 
for the great man, and refreshing him, when weary, with 
good soup and somewhat coarse merriment. Doubtless, a 
sincere a£fection glowed in her bosom, but an intellectual 
companion for the poet and thinker she never could be nor 
pretended to be. Probably he did not ask it of her. He 
had had enough of clever women. He found in Christiane 
that fresh nature, always so delightful to a poet's heart, 
and he was disgu tei with the artificiality of Weimar 

^ As though he had been a prince, he gave her but his left hand 
when he married her. The marriage took place in 1806, Fcventeen 
years after the birth of his son. The young August von Goethe was 
bom on Frau von Stein's birthday — Christmas Day, 1789. 

2o6 Germany^ Present and Past. 

Court ladies. That he really did love her is proved by the 
fact that he, usually so cold, so composed, was completely 
overcome as he stood beside her dyiug bed ; that he knelt 
down, took her hand, and exclaimed with passionate ^ef, 
' You will not leave me, — no, no, you must not leave me.' 
He was then an old man — most of those who had belonged 
to his generation had passed away, and despite the homage 
and flattery that surrounded him, he felt that without 
that faithful heart he should be alone. With this homage 
the despised Ghristiane may rest content. 

To Weimar came also Jean Paul Richter, who, in his 
' Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces,' has left us so true a 
picture of the unwholesome striving of his day after an 
ideal woman, intellectual and angelic, and of its readiness 
to break a home-spun tie to attain to an imion — ^spiritual, 
but also gross — with one of these exalted and emancipated 

Siebenkas, advocate of the poor, a needy author, is 
engaged on the * Selections from the Devil's Papers ' — a 
series of satires. He is married to Wendeline, a humble, 
hard-working, simple girl, whom the reader of * Flower, 
Fruit, and Thorn Pieces ' cannot help loving with all his 
heart. The poor couple have only two rooms over a 
baker's ; in one room they eat, and he writes, the other is 
the bedroom, and it opens out of the first. I must 
condense a scene. 

* During the mute quarrel of the preceding days, Sie- 
benkas had unfortunately, whilst writing, accustomed his 
ear to listen to Lenette's movements ; and every step and 
noise affected himi and killed his hatching ideas, as a loud 
report will kill a brood of silkworms. At first he kept his 
feelings under tolerable control; he reflected that his 
wife must move about, and so long as she was in the body 
pould not handle furniture and glide through the room 

Women. 207 

noiselessly as a sunbeam. However, on the morning on 
which they had patched up their difference, he said to his 
wife, '^ If possible, Lenette, don't make much noise to-day, 
it disturbs me in my literary labours/' " I thought you 
could scarcely hear me," she answered, " I move so softly." 
Woe to Siebenkas ; he had made the request in a foolish 
moment ; now he had laid on himself the task of watching, 
all the time he was working, to see how Lenette con- 
formed to his wishes. She tripped over the web of her 
household work with light spider^s feet; and Siebenkas 
was forced to be very much on the alert to hear her hands 
or feet ; but with an effort he heard, and little that passed 
escaped his attention, kept now on a strain. When we are 
not asleep we pay more attention to slight noises than to 
loud ones ; so now ear and soul were awake counting her 
steps, and working him to such a pitch of irritation, 
that he jumped up, and cried to his creeping partner, ^^ I 
have been listening for hours to this muffled pit-a-pat. 
Put on iron clogs, I should prefer that. Go on as usual, 
dearest." She obeyed, and went about as much as possible 
in her usual manner. As he had abolished her loud walk, 
and her quiet walk, now he longed to do away with her 
intermediate walk ; but no man likes to contradict himself 
twice in one morning. In the evening, however, he 
begged her to go about in her stocking soles whilst he was 

* Next day he sat in judgment on everything that was 
going on behind his back, questioning in himself whether 
it was absolutely necessary for Lenette to do it, or whether 
she might not have let it alone. He bore it with tolerable 
fortitude till Wendeline went into the bed-room and 
swept the straw under the bed with a long broom. With- 
out rising from his seat he called to the domestic sweep 
in the bed-chamber : " Lenette, pray don't scratch and 

2o8 Germany^ Present and Past. 

scrape with that broom, it prevents my thinking." Lenette 
now became quiet by degrees* She put away her broom, 
and only pushed three ears of straw and some flue under 
the bed with the whisk. Quite beyond his expectations, 
the editor of * The Devil's Papers ' succeeded in hearing 
this, whereupon he got up, went to the chamber-door, 
and called out, ^^ Dearest, the hellish torment is as great 
as ever, so long as I can hear at all." ^^ I have done 
now," she answered, and she softly closed the door as he 
resiuned his work. But that was too much : he concluded 
there was something brewing, so he laid aside his pen and 
called, ^^ Lenette, I can't hear what you are at, but I know 
you are doing something. For God's sake let it alone." 
She answered, with a voice trembling with the violence of 
her exertions, ** Nothing. I am not doing anything." He 
arose and opened the door of his torture chamber. His 
wife was rubbing away with a piece of grey flannel, 
scouring the rails of the bed.' 

Siebenkas goes to Baireuth, where he makes the ac- 
quaintance of a Natalie Aquiliana : ^ a female figure, clad 
entirely in black, with a white veil, holding a faded 
nosegay in her hand,' who, standing before a jet-d'eau, 
thus for the first time addresses him : ^ Whence is it that 
a fountain raises the spirits and the heart, but that this 
visible sinking, this dying of the water-streams from above 
downwards, gives me a feeling of anxiety every time I see 
it ? In life this terrible falling in from above is never 
made visible to us.' Here was a soul full of sentiment 
which could moralise over a squiit. Siebenkas rushes 
into the wood and meditates on divorcing Lenette. Even^ 
tually he plays a cruel trick on his wife : pretends to die, 
has a wax figure buried in his place, and then flies to 
find aesthetic happiness by melting his soul into that of 
Natalie. » 


Women. 209 

Goethe had reversed the experiences of Siebenkas. 
He had tried many soaring dream-wrapped Natalies, and 
had found them intolerable as companions. He found 
rest for his soul on the simple affection and in the good 
cooking of a Lenette. St. Peter of Alcantara lay with his 
head against a spike to keep him awake, but he was 
imbecile. Men of active intellects exact of their wives 
that they should be their mental and material pillows, not 
domestic goads to sting them to fresh activity. An 
explosive genius is happier plugged with a cork than 
matched with a lucifer. Jean Paul himself was too wise 
to bind himself to either Charlotte von Kalb or Emilie 
von Berlepsch. When Kichter came to Weimar, Frau von 
Kalb ' laid herself out to win him. They wrote daily to 
one another. She was some years older than Bichter and 
had a husband, but at that time thai, was nothing. Her 
imposing exterior, the fire of her large dark eyes — a fire of 
mingled genius and voluptuousness — the grace and vigour 
of her language, the exalted sentiments she gave utterance 
to, her passionate emotions, that might consume as well 
as warm,' made at once a strong impression on Bichter. 
She was the original of his Linda in the * Titan.' She 
had admired his writings before she saw him, and when 
she made his acquaintance she threw herself at his feet. 
Genius was god-like, and to a god everything may be 
granted. She was daily with him, sent him books and 
newspapers, and procured for him every convenience she 
could obtain, and introduced him to the whole circle of 
her friends. A few days after his arrival at Weimar he 
wrote to Otto : * She has two great things, great eyes, such 
as I never saw before, and a great soul. She speaks as 
Herder writes on humanity. She is strong, full, and her 
fcice — I would I could describe it. When she raises her 

* Ten years before she tried the same game on with Schiller. 
VOL. I. P 

2IO Germany, Present and Past, 

heavenly eyelids, it is as though clouds were lifted from 
the face of the moon. Over thirty times she repeats to 
me, *' You are a wonderful man ! " ' On leaving Weimar 
he wrote a little piece, * Mondfinsterniss,' in which he 
expressed his feelings on female virtue, and his abhorrence 
of all but legitimate unions, and sent it to Charlotte. She 
then showed herself in her true colours. She was saturated 
with the aesthetic doctrine then fashionable in German 
cultivated society, that all virtue is from within, and that 
the external relations of life are of little consequence in a 
moral point of view. Nature was divine ; its voice must 
be listened to and obeyed. ^ Religion,' she wrote, ^ is 
nothing but the unfolding and elevation of all our powers 
and the direction of our natural instincts. The creature 
should suffer no restraints. Love obeys no laws.' Richter 
was shocked, and an estrangement ensued. Fran von 
Kalb offered to divorce her husband if he would take 
her, but he declined the doubtful honour. Emilie von 
Berlepsch, a yoimg widow, was the next to assail him ; 
she met him when his heart was bleeding for his mother's 
loss, and she took occasion to ingratiate herself into his 
affections. He wrote to Otto, *I have found the first 
female soul that I can completely unite with without 
weariness, without contrariety ; that can improve me while 
I improve her. She is too noble and perfect to be eulo- 
gised with a drop of ink.' 

Emilie wrote to him, when they parted, after he left 
the baths where he had accidentally met her, ^Follow 
your heart when it speaks for me, for notwithstanding all 
your sympathy and goodness, there hangs about me a 
doubt. Do not regard any impediments which may stand 
between us. What we lose at present eternity can not 
restore. There is for me only one real, pure joy, and in 
no future life can there be a higher — ^the symp&thy 

Women. 2 1 1 

of my soul with yours. Ah I as yet we have said nothing 
to each other. I do not pray you to love me, but to look 
into the unfathomable heaven you have created in me. 
If you can admire that, you will never destroy it. Would 
that I could write to you something more of thought than 
of feeling ! I, who am nine parts reason, and one miser- 
able tenth part heart, forget all logic when, pen in hand, 
I correspond with you. I become a susceptible girl again 
when writing to you.' But Bichter would not be drawn 
into the whirlpool. He wrote to his friend from Weimar : 
^ The Berlepsch is here ! I find in her a soul that is not 
below my ideal, and I should be happy in her friendship, 
if she would not be too hxijppy with me.' He knew that 
such stormy heroines as Berlepsch and Kalb were never 
formed as wives for him. He needed a mild and gentle 
spirit, in whose unselfish love he could find a sanctuary for 
his heart. Though Emilie was the Natalie of Siebenkas, 
he was prepared to reverse his tale, run away from her, and 
seek a Lenette. He knew intuitively that with a Berlepsch 
he could have found no repose, with Frau von Kalb no 
security. Men do not attach themselves to rockets ; they 
prefer to observe them from a distance. Bichter married 
unhappily after all. 

The poets and philosophers of the Transition made 
their own experiences ; but in making them they wrought 
sad miwhief with their aesthetic theories. They taught 
that the perfection of life was found in the pursuit and 
worship of the beautiful ; and religion is but the senti- 
ment of the beautiful. Finely constituted souls can only 
exist in a state of aesthetics. Such souls have an affinity 
for each other and naturally combine. The relations of 
social life are subordinate, and made or unmade according 
to the * elective affinities ' of these ethereal spirits. Along 
with this sestheticism went an extravagant, sentimental 

p 2 

212 Germany y Present and Past. 

expansiveness ; in family or friendly unions the freest play 
was given to the expression of the tenderest emotions. 
Tears and embraces were so much in vogue that, if two of 
any company were at all justified in indulging in them, 
the rest fell on one another's necks from piure sympathetic 
contagion. In these duels of emotion the seconds were 
expected to support their principals, and to be as ready 
with their tears as their ancestors were with their swords. 
The fashion was not confined to silly people, who had no 
ideas beyond the circle of their feelings, but infected, as 
we have seen, the most educated and intellectual classes. 
And yet, in the midst of these sighs and maunderings, 
the foundations were laid of that comprehensive culture 
which is the pride of Grerman thought, and the restoration 
was begun of the ruined temple of womanliness wrecked 
by the brutalities of the rococo period. It was an age 
of classic love of beauty, mediaeval sentimentality, and 
modem rationalism ; and the three elements combined, 
with much spluttering and not a little heat, to form in 
the end the solid civilisation of the present generation. 

Among the Protestant courts and in the circles of the 
literary, Christianity was regarded as an exhausted belief; 
what religion weis professed was Deism ; but it was a 
Deism without ethic obligations. Men and women alike, 
when they rejected the dogma of Christianity and the 
inspiration of Scripture, lost the grounds of a sound 
morality, and in the cultivation of hysterical sentimentality 
thought everything was justified which poetry could gloss 
and passion sublimate. This aberration meets us in 
Burger's relations to women. We see there a fever of 
sentiment, glorified by the might of poetry, and lifted 
into the sphere of spirituality, regardless of all first prin- 
ciples of sober ethics. Burger says of his Molly : * In this 
costly, heaven-souled being the flower of sensibility 


Women. 213 

savours so exquisitely that the finest organs of spiritual 
love can scarce perceive the aroma.' Intoxicated by this 
aroma, however, he did not hesitate to make Molly his 
more than spiritual wife, and mother of a son, beside his 
real wife, her sister Dorette, and to present himself in 
public with the two sisters as his two wives, and glorify 
the union as made divine by the Olympian halo which 
surrounded it. The life of a later poet, Clemens Bren- 
tano, one of the Romantic school, tells the same story, but 
it tells also of woman exercising a benign and healing 
influence on a torn and ruined life. As student at Jena, 
he fell in love with Sophie Mereau, a poetess, then thirty 
years old, wife of one of the professors, and after three 
years' struggle to overcome their mutual passion, Sophie 
divorced herself from her husband and flew into the em- 
braces of the young poet. In the third year of her second 
married life Sophie died, and left Brentano to ramble 
through the world in quest of another heroic soul, guitar 
in hand, singing sweet songs, wherewith to charm them. 
In Frankfurt, at the house of the banker Bethmann, he 
met Augusta Busmann, an extravagant girl, who concealed 
a cold and empty heart and a frivolous mind under the 
veil of phantastic, fiery enthusiasm. She fell desperately 
in love with the black curls of the poet, and succeeded in 
entangling him in a romantic intrigue. In cloud and 
darkness she fled with him from the house of Bethmann 
to Gassel. Brentano was, in spite of his vagaries, a man 
of honour, and he married Augusta there; ^but even 
before the marriage,' writes one of his friends, ' he was 
convinced that the unintellectual bride would not make 
him happy — however, he felt it his duty to complete the 
transaction. Even on the way to church ideas of flight 
filled his head, and he turned back with the purpose of 
escape, but his sense of what was due to her made him 

214 Germany y Present and Past. 

abandon the attempt as soon as initiated. He stepped 
back into the carriage and his obligations. Wonderful 
things are told us of the wedded life of this young couple. 
A few days after the marriage she flung the wedding-ring 
out of the window, and this woimded deeply the senti- 
mental geniality of Brentano's heart. Not l^ss was he 
vexed when his wife capered down the street with a plume 
of ostrich feathers on her head and a scarlet flapping horse- 
cloth thrown over her shoulders.' 

Stramberg says, in his * Antiquarius,' ^ Of all the tor- 
ments which Brentano had to endure, that which most 
aggravated him was the skill with which she could and 
would drum with her feet on the foot of the bed whilst 
playing a pizzicato with her nails on the sheets; this 
drove Brentano so wild, in his high-strung, nervous 
condition, that before the year was out he ran away and 
obtained a divorce.' For some years he wandered over 
Germany, restless, consumed with the power of his poetic 
soul, seeking peace and finding none. The years of youth 
and self-delusion were over. An insuperable contempt for 
the hoUowness and inflated falseness of the social life of 
the intellectual circle in which he moved and was admired 
weighed down his soul. The night of a solitary old age 
threatened. He had tasted what life offers as pleasmre, 
and it had left bitterness on his tongue. He seemed to 
be, in his own words— 

A wandering shadow only, a poor player, 
Who storms and paces for his petty hour, 
Then drops back into nothing — ^bnt a ballad 
Snng by a tramp — all clamour, rage, 
Bat meaning nothing. 

Brentano was in this condition of mind when he met 
Louise Hensel, who transformed his whole life. 

•In September 1816,' says a contemporary, *one 

Women. 215 

Thursday evening, Clemens Brentano came into a social 
riunian in Berlin, in a bouse where the noblest in rank 
and genius of the land were wont to gather. At first 
there were few persons present ; the son of the house and 
an old friend were engaged in telling a young girl that 
the distinguished, gifted Clemens Brentano was coming, 
and would read them something. His wit, his sarcasms, 
&c., were spoken of, and as the word " gifted " was used 
very often in describing him, the young lady, who had 
been listening with the deepest interest, exclaimed : " If 
he be gifted only, and have nothing beside, he may be a 
man much to be pitied and most miserable." At that 
moment the poet was at her side, and said, gloomily, 
'* Good evening ! " The company were startled. The 
folding-doors into the adjoining room had been left open, 
and the floors were carpeted, and lamps turned down. 
Nobody knew when he had entered, and how much of 
what had been said had come to his ears. Some feared 
his wit would repay their remarks with biting sarcasm. 
Only she who had last spoken seemed undisturbed, think- 
ing that her observation might have been taken as one 
of general application. She received his salutation without 
embarrassment, and offered him a seat at her side on the 
sofa. He looked fixedly and gloomily into her face, and 
said : ' My God ! how like you are to my sister Sophie, 
whom I have lost ! ' < I am glad I am like your sister, 
and glad also that we shall hear you read. Pray begin.' 
He read something from his * Victoria ' and from the 
' Founding of Prag,' was unusually cheerful, and charmed 
all the company, and he was made to promise to be at 
the receptions every Thursday.' 

That evening opened a new chapter in Brentano's life. 
In a long letter he poured out into the bosom of this girl 
the confession of his misery, of his mined life. * " In vain " 

'2 1 6 Germany, Present a?id Past. 

is the legend written over my whole career, inscribed in 
fire on my heart and stamped on my brain. All my acts, 
my thoughts, my scheming, my sufferings, have been in 
vain. When I was — if not better — ^at least more innocent, 
I sought a being like you, to whom I could devote myself, 
one who might lead me, inspire me. I associated with 
the ablest men, but they followed their own pursuits ; 
they went their own way and left me standing alone, with 
the salutation, " God helps those who help themselves ? " ' 

An answer came to this strange epistle, one quite other 
than he had expected. ' What can it profit you to tell 
all this to a yoimg girl? You are a Catholic. Seek 
comfort in your reUgion.' 

This was a word of advice the brother of Bettina, the 
associate of the most biilliant intellects of Jena and Berlin, 
had never heard before. He had made many confessions 
of his misery and of the desolation and despair of his soul, 
and these confessions had always been introductions to 
interesting discussions, poetic exchange of letters, meta- 
physical disputes, sometimes to quick-blazing friendships ; 
but the end of all was nothing. He was left, as before, in 
the mire. Now he was told plainly, by a woman's lips, 
that all his gifts were nothing without a aomething else ; 
that genius, poetic exaltation, did not lift into peace of 
mind, and that without God the most gifted man might 
find his life a hell. 

The advice of Louise was too new for him to adopt it 
all at once. He had been baptized a Catholic in infancy, 
and there his relations with the Church and Christianity 
had ended. He had never been brought under their 
influence, never dreamed of looking to them for conso- 
lation. And now the spoiled, flattered poet was not the 
man to yield without a struggle. A passion such as he 
had never known before possessed his heart, and broke 

Women. 217 

out into those exquisite hymns of pure love, ^ An Louisen,' 
which are immortal. His suit for the hand of Louise was 
in vain. The young friend would help him to a new life, 
but not be associated with his passion. Months passed in 
desperate battle with his heart ; and then he sang : — 

Schweig, Herz I kein Schrei 1 

Denn AUes geht vorbei, 

Dock doss ich auf&rgtand 

XJnd wie ein Irrstem ewig sie amrande 

Ein Geiflt, den sie gebannt, 

Dot hat Bettand. 

Then he took her advice, and a peace, ' such as passeth 
man's understanding,' came over the stormy soul. The 
rest of his life was one of happiness — at all events, of rest. 
If he was foolish enough to chronicle the hysterical twaddle 
of an Anna Katharina Emmerich, the fault lies in a judg- 
ment never naturally strong and wholly uncultivated. It 
is pleasant to see, after the period of false sentiment, a 
woman resuming her proper position, as man's comforter 
and revealer of God. 

Let us look at another instance, at the influence of 
Sophie Schwab on Lenau — that strange, crazy genius, full 
of force and pathos, but with a mind unhinged, that 
foamed itself away at last in a mad-house. Sophie 
Schwab,^ with gentle solicitude, kept her cool hand on 
his fevered brow. How beautiful is one of her letters to 
him. ' Auersperg is indeed a poet, but not like you ; in 
spite of his talents, he does not come near you. I should 
never have thought of applying to him what I saw the 
other day on the Danube, and which painfully reminded 

* Sophie, the wife of Lenaa*8 friend Oastave Schwab. Schorz, in 
his interesting Life of his brother-in-law, expresses the doubt whether 
any poet exercised a greater power over women of genius than Lenau. 
Schnrz gives many letters by the poet to Sophie, but not many of hers 
to him« Sophie's father's country-house was at Penzing, near Vienna. 
See Schuxz : Leium'$ Ldbetu Stuttgart, 1855, 

2i8 Germany y Present and Past. 

me of you. A poor Croat, a pilgrim, was in his little 
boat on the river. He stood in his vessel in poverty- 
stricken, sackcloth blouse, sculling purposeless here and 
there, his gloomy, heavy eyes resting on the flood, regard- 
less of the people on the banks who watched his wondrous 
course. His hat he must have cast aside — ^he stood bare- 
headed in the sun. He had no clothes, no bread, no 
bottle in his canoe — only one great green wreath, which 
he had slung on his pilgrim's staff planted in the forepart 
of the vessel, like an ensign. Was not that the picture of 
a true poet? Yowr portrait, dear Niembsch.* Have you 
not been swayed about thus in life, in a light boat, on the 
wild dark stream, with eyes fixed on no shore, with hat 
thrown away, preserving only your poet's wreath in place 
of every other earthly good ? And when others seek to 
cover their heads, you have offered your noble, stately 
head to sun and lightning, snow and storm, smTOunded 
only by the beautiful greer|^ ever-green wreath, which 
gives no protection. The glossy leaves of the laurel adorn 
indeed but shelter not — ^they will not ward off the bluster 
of these rough days, and therefore you are ill.' 

But I must not delay longer to speak of one most 
remarkable woman, the much admired Rahel. The French 
Eevolution had broken up the * salon' of old French 
society, when it had acted such an important, and in some 
respects, it must be owned, such a fatal part in giving lite- 
rature its pervading tone. But despite all its sins, and its 
frivolity, it cannot be denied that the pre-Revolution society 
in Paris was more brilliant, more agreeable, than that of 
the present era. The men were more amiable, for their 
principal business in life was to please ; the women more 
delightful, for they found themselves the central point of 

> Niembsch (Nicholas) von Strehlenan was his real name : Lecau is 
the latter half of his Hangarian surname. 

Women. 2 1 9 

attraction, and all their charms of mind and manners were 
called forth to preserve that ascendancy. In Germany, 
the salon, in the sense in which it was imderstood in 
France, was scarcely known. But the Revolution of 1789, 
which destroyed for ever — at least in their original form — 
the salons of Paris, gave * birth to those on the other side 
of the Shine. Bahel's salon was for a long time the 
central point of the society of Berlin. She was the wife 
of Vamhagen von Ense. Mundt calls her a 'thyrsus- 
swayer of the thoughts of her time,' and it is certain that 
she exercised an unaccountable witchery over the geniuses 
of that day. She was wedded to a man fifteen years 
younger than herself — a man who, if not endowed with 
talents of the first order, was yet a writer of no mean 
rank, and this man she inspired to the last moment of 
her existence with a veneration and devotion rarely 
paralleled in the history of wedded life. Goethe, of whom, 
it is true, she was an idolator, returned her homage with 
respect and esteem. Jean Paul declared ' she was unique 
in her way, and her letters from Paris worth a dozen 
volumes of travels.' Humboldt declared of her that * truth 
was the distinguishing feature of her intellectual and 
moral being.' She possessed in the highest degree 
womanly instinct for what is right and beautiful. Her 
mind was richly stored, her powers of description great. 
But the real source of attraction lay in her marvellous 
power of sympathy. She possessed the rare and invaluable 
gift of thoroughly identifying herself with those around 
her, of reading the most secret depths of their hearts, of 
living in their life, and of participating in the fulness, as 
if they were her own, of their joys and sorrows. Slight, 
frail, and delicate, with an extraordinary nervous sensi- 
bility, and an imagination vivid almost to morbidness, 
she was utterly unable to live without love, or without a 

2 20 Germany y Present and Past. 

friendship which had almost the warmth of love. Her 
youth had been twice darkened by blighted hopes and 
affections. The iirst love had been compelled to yield to 
family considerations. The second, still more fervent, 
perished from its own excess, for in such natures the most 
intense happiness is often withered up by its own ardour. It 
was in 1802, on recovering from the long illness, the result 
of this bitter delusion, that Sahel, abjuring love, as she 
believed for ever, formed the project of assembling a 
chosen circle, by means of which she might act bene- 
ficially on the minds of her countrymen. Her success 
was greater than she could have anticipated. All the 
celebrities of the day gathered round her, and her salon 
became the centre of intellectual culture and activity. 

Quite a different character was the elfish, charming 
Bettina, the sister of Clemens Brentano, married to 
Achim von Amim. Bettina's home, by birth and marriage, 
was in the Bomantic school, and her inner mental organisa- 
tion is traceable in a marked sense to Novalis. Bettina 
was everything that was delightful in woman in the spring- 
tide of her beauty, buoyancy, and freakishness. Her play- 
ful spirit dances in the sunbeams and over the flowers, 
casting flashes and prismatic colours about her, like a 
humming-bird. She entered into familiar epistolary cor- 
respondence with Goethe, and her book, * Goethe's Brief- 
wechsel mit einem Kinde,' an epistolary poem, as it has 
been often called, is one of the most fascinating works 
of German literature, a romance spun out of some fisu^ts.^ 

Bettina was half Puck, half Ariel. Her delicate sus- 
ceptibility, her marvellous rwp'poTi with all nature, 
with the inexhaustible treasure of her love, and her 

> < She was one of those phantasts to whom everTthing seems 
permitted. More elf than woman, yet with flashes of genius which 
light op whole chapters of nonsense, she defies criticism, and pate 
every verdict at fault." — G. H. Lewes : Xi/d of Ooethe* 

Women, 2 2 1 

religious sympathy with everything that can ennoble and 
hallow mankind, would have made her the greatest poetess 
of all times, if she had only understood one essential, the 
mystery of discipline, of restraint, of proportion. With 
Rahel and Bettina we close this series of sketches of the 
women who composed part of the literary world of the 
Transition. With a few bright exceptions, the sketches 
are not pleasing. Whenever the German woman stepped 
out of the kitchen, she fell into the sewer. But the fault 
lay, not in her, but in her preceptors. They exacted of 
her a life for which she was unsuited. Of all women in 
creation, the Germans are least able to maintain a healthy 
activity on moonbeams and the pollen of lilies. It 
takes three things to fly a kite —the kite, a string, and 
someone on the earth. One kite will not fly another ; if 
the attempt be made, both come headlong to the ground. 
When the man is soaring, the woman must keep her feet 
on the soil ; and the only safety for the aspiring genius 
lies in the maintenance of the bond between them, and 
their occupying relatively opposed positions. 

In the Transition period, the education of woman was 
I one-sided, her sentiment and not her mind was drawn out, 

^ the very element in her composition which demands most 

restraint. Of moral principle there was none. Old things 
were passed away, and a new order had not come in. 
Those who siurrounded her made her inhale nitrous*oxyde, 
and lauded her as ethereal if she stood on her head : 

Anf den Ftiflflen geht's nicht mehr, 
Drum gehn wir auf den Kopf en. 

She forgot, or was taught to disbelieve, that she was held 
down by gravitation. She was outside the reach of that 
attraction. But the extravagance of this doctrine led to 
a remedy. We find all through that period men raising a 

22 2 Germany y Present and Past 

protest, and women living it ; and the voice and 
example of nature and common sense prevailed. The 
reaction set in. The ideal of German men now is the 
gQod housekeeper. They ask of woman only blue eyes, a 
bust, and economy ; to be like Orlando's mistress, — 

The fair, the chaste, the unezpressive she. 

To be Without colour is the highest virtue in the woman 
and the diamond ; the husband's wedding present to bis 
bride — his Morgengabe — is invariably a cookery book. 
He desires her to remember nothing of her school-learning 
but her table of aliquot parts. 

Richter wrote amid the devastation wrought by setting 
the sesthetic ideal before women, ^ A spiritual, and more 
important, and more murderous revolution than that in 
the political world is now beating in the heart of the 
nation.' The men of Germany, whether literary or not, 
saw this at last, and put a price on the heads of aBsthetic 
women, as Edgar did on the wolves. Reviewers wrote 
them down, critics cut them up. As children order lady- 
birds, ladybirds to fly away home, for their house is on 
fire and their children will bum, so society in Germany 
ordered emancipated female souls back to the domestic 
nursery and cuisine. ' Women and gouty legs are best at 
home.' The days of Faustrecht returned, but the fist was 
only used against women who broke loose. A literary 
woman in society caused as much consternation as a bear 
in an Alpine village. All the population turned out in 
arms against the common foe. Nobles by feudal law 
could only be executed with the sword. Noble female 
souls may be knocked down or skewered with any weapon, 
a rolling-pin or a dung-fork. Clever men have no more 
scruple in torturing them with ridicule than cruel boys 
have in spinning cockchafers. 

Women. 223 

A neighbouring naturalist introduced a frog into his 
garden to keep down slugs. Next day hi» outdoor servant 
came to him, holding up the reptile by one leg, the life 
stoned out of it, and said, with his honest face all smiles, 
' I fund un on the walks, sir, and I deaded un.' No one 
who has not lived in Germany can realise the exultation, 
the pride, with which an authoress who has trodden the 
paths of literature is held up to general scorn, with a 
' Please, sir, I deaded im ! ' Auerbach, in his ' Auf der 
Hohe,' has shown the dangers of aestheticism and Platonism, 
how beads held ' in the heights ' are likely not to see the 
pebbles in the path, and bring about a fall and bruises. 
In the * Dorfgeschichten,' the lofty-minded schoolmaster, 
with highly polished intellect, finds that happiness most 
pure and cloudless is to be found only in the love of a 
very simple heart, and that the freshness of ignorance is 
water to the tongue of abstract thought. In ^ Die Frau 
Professorinn,' the moral is the same. The artist, flattered 
by the beauty and wit of the salons of the ^ Besidenz,* 
neglects his peasant wife, who talks broad Black-Forest, till 
brought to his senses, and to a right appreciation of her 
value, by finding how the prince does homage to her 
' edeles Herz ; ' and by the discovery that the unsophisti- 
cated woman is the most splendid of the works of nature. 

German writers have conspired to disparage in every 
way female aspirations after a life outside the walls of 
her house, and to exalt as her ideal the condition of a 
tame domestic animal. As housewives in Germany keep 
fowls in hutches by the kitchen fire, where the warmth is 
conducive to their fattening and egg-productiveness, so 
have the husbands enclosed their women, and for much 
the same objects. They will not endure to allow them the 
run of their gardens, lest they scratch up the best flowers 
of their invention and busk on their best raked systems. 

224 Germany y Present and Past. 

The poets of the Transition had incautiously, like the 
fisherman in the Arabian tale, taken the leaden seal of 
Solomon off the jar, and a spirit had risen out of it, that 
filled the sky and threatened society. By hook or by 
crook the spirit must be got into the jar again, and 
pitched once more into the sea to lie there till the day of 
doom. For the purpose of laying the emancipated spirit 
of womanhood, writers have, like Tobit, had recourse to 
not a little gall. But there is no necessity for continuing 
the smoke when the fire is banished. It was men who in- 
considerately had whipped the quiet souls of women into 
firoth and flummery, and all that was needed was to let 
them stand to settle to their proper levels. 

If it was a mistake to emancipate them a hundred 
years ago, it is a worse mistake to chain or manacle them 
now. For the last fifty years, however, men have persis- 
tently refused woman a nobler vocation than to haggle 
over market produce and lard veal like a ^ fretful porcu- 
pine.' One door only has been left open to her, by which 
she may escape the kitchen, and that leads upon the stage. 
There she is allowed to display her talents, for there she is 
only illustrating the works of men. But even there 
recognition of her powers has been but grudgingly bestowed. 
If she has attempted to write dramas, she has had to follow 
and reflect the passing humours of the people, or see her 
pieces hissed down. It was this debasing necessity which 
prevented Birch Pfeiffer from becoming a great dramatist. 
Public taste refused to be led by a woman, but not to be 
flattered by her. 

In art she has been allowed to do nothing. Angelica 
Kauffmann had to seek customers in England. If she 
must paint, let her daub Edelweiss and Alpine roses on 
men's cigar-cases. In music it is not to be expected that 
woman will ever make herself a name. Music and archi- 

Wontefi. 225 

lecture are the two arts which demand a creative power, 
and creativeneas is a masculine prerogative. Woman will 
execute, but man must design. She has ability rather 
than intellect. She is mentally as physically conceptive, 
and her function is not to beget. She may shine in 
painting, for she can copy, and has a keen selective appre- 
ciation, but for music and architecture initiation is required, 
and that woman has not. In no cosmogony is the creative 
power &bled to be female, for the general observation of 
mankind has denied to the feminine mind the gift of 
originativeness. For the same reason she has fancy, but 
not imagination, which is the initiation of creation, the 
Arst ' moment ' in calling of being out of not-being. Her 
poetry will, therefore, be a mosaic of impressions, a 
s^^thetic reading of nature, a bright play a\K>ut things 
of beauty, never the calling into existence of things that 
were not. 

But &ncy, ability, and artistic aptitude have been 
mercilessly denied her daring the last half centuiy. 
Science has been closed to her as well as art. And in 
literature she has been allowed but little range — to trans- 
late from the English and write nursery tales. If she has 
ventured timorously into other fields, there has been a 
springing of rattles, a hooting and whooping, and she has 
had to fly scared to shelter. There has been a want of 
generosity in the treatment of clever women. Men have 
killed as ruthlessly the firstlings of her brain as Pharaoh 
did the first-bom of the Hebrews. On the earliest seent 
of an authoress, critics have sat themselves round the 
publisher's door like terriers about a rat-hole, waiting to 
£Edl on and worry the poor little production when it 

My naturalist neighbour, already quoted, had a monkey 
VOL. I. Q 

226 Germany y Present and Past 

and a parrot sent him from the tropics. The one and the 
other had had their minds opened since they left their 
native woods. The monkey in the kitchen had learned 
how to pluck a fowl, and the parrot in the cockpit, on 
the voyage, had acquired a breadth and freedom of ex- 
pression neither suitable for society, nor proper to her 

One day, free from mistrust and anticipations of evil,^ 
like Charity impersonified, their master went for a consti- 
tutional, leaving his pets together in the study, the one 
engaged in cracking nuts, the other in pluming and 
praising herself. No sooner was the door closed, than the 
monkey laid hold of the parrot, placed her between his 
knees, and regardless of screams and objurgations — plucked 
her clean. On the return of their master, neither monkey 
nor parrot was visible. Seeing the perch deserted, he 
called, ' Poll, pretty Poll, where are you, Poll ? ' Where- 
upon, from behind the window-curtain, hopped the 
wretched bird, as naked as her master's hand, and 
shrieked in tones of mingled mortification, rage, and 
pain, * We've had a hell of a time. Sir I a heU of a 

The story may be applied with perfect justice to 
authoresses and their critics in Germany. The latter, with 
the malice or envy of their tribe — for the most merciless 
critic is ever the most incompetent author — have been 
inexorable in their treatment of lady writers. They have 
ruthlessly riven off their every beauty on which they 
plumed themselves, and have sent them hopping out into 
the world, more naked than they came into it. Consi- 
dering the treatment gifted women in Germany have- 
received during the last fifty years, they are justified in 
exclaiming with the parrot, — * We've had a hell of a 

Women. 227 

time. Sir ! a hell of a time ! ' But there is a point 
below which you camiot compress steam. Women have 
begun to make their voices heard, and to show that their 
voices are worth listening to. They are insisting that 
they have a position to fill in the economy of social life 
above that of household drudges. They will neither be 
the toys nor the slaves, but the help-mates of man. The 
man is incomplete without the woman, and the woman 
without the man. This is the burden of the cry of the 
female writers of the present day. Marlitt shows us, in 
^ Das Geheimniss der alten Mamsell,' her heroine, Feli- 
citas, condemned to kitchen-work and to study her hymn- 
book, and pictures the burning passion of the growing 
mind for knowledge and freedom. In ' Die Zweite Frau,' 
we have a cultivated woman in married life asserting her 
mental power, and thereby conquering the affection of 
the man, who married her only to be his housekeeper and 
governess to his child. But a book of far greater power 
and pathos than any of Marlitt^s is ^ Ein Arzt der Seele,' 
by Frau von Hillem, in which she vindicates the right of 
woman to be the intellectual associate and complement 
of man, whilst she rightly repudiates her claim to be his 

The women have, in Germany, a very just cause for 
complaint. Since the first unsuccessful experiment, the 
men of Germany have excluded them from their society. 
In their clubs and taverns they spend their leisure, and 
pour out the wealth of their ideas among their fellow-men, 
but never in their homes. The women pass their lonely 
evenings over their knitting, or together, talking of 
babies. If the men appear at dinner, it is to eat and 
not to converse, to gobble their food and haste back to 
congenial society in the cafL The wife and daughters 

Q 2 

228 Germany^ Present and Past. 

are supposed not to look at a newspaper, or have know- 
ledge or inierests in anything which occupies the minds of 
the men. Divorce is the normal condition of married 
life — the divorce of souls; nay, rather let me say that 
external marriage never unites the minds, the minds never 
get further than bowing acquaintanceship. 

Both sexes suffer from this estrangement. The elimi- 
nation of women from society has had a deteriorating effect 
on men's minds and manners. It is this which causes the 
rudeness of exterior and coarseness of grit in the consti- 
tution of German men — ^a rudeness and a coarseness 
painfully ever-present to the observation of a foreigner. 
And it is this also that makes G-erman women so in- 
capable of using the good material which has been heaped 
up in their minds by education. The schools for girls are 
so excellent, and the instruction is so thorough, that a 
servant-maid in Germany is better grounded than most 
young ladies in England. But though the education 
given to women is admirable, they can make no use of it. 
With much less, English ladies can charm, and attach, 
and influence men : they may have little learning, but what 
little they have they know how to use; for they are 
taught how to use it by constant association with the other 
sex. In Germany, there is no such association, and 
therefore no such teaching. Knowledge acquired is not 
assimilated and never utilised. Finding it valueless, it is 
got rid of as quickly after marriage as may be. Matri- 
mony is like iodine ointment for the absorption of muscle. 
It acts on woman as a solvent to all that should give 
vigour to her character. 

There is a dish, much affected in Cornwall, called 
squab-pie. It is compounded of veal, pork, beef or 
mutton, potatoes, onions, apples and pilchards, the whole 

- ^^.^"V"*~.™ 

Women. 229 

rolled up in strong dough. Nothing more repellent when 
raw, nor more toothsome when cooked. 

Female education is much like the making of squab- 
pie. The heads of girls are stuffed with an infinity of 
ingredients most incongruous, but each excellent in itself. 
Social intercourse is the great digesting force in life. If 
girls' heads were submitted to this, the result would be 
quite perfect. But they are not. The Crerman girl is kept at 
home till she is married. After the wedding the German 
husband peeps cautiously into his wife's brain, and finding 
there only crude junks of solid fact, and tenacious dough 
of pedantry, withdraws his fingers, wipes them, and declines 
staying for dinner. 

Gterman men are like English schoolboys, uncouth and 
boisterous* It is wonderful what a change a holiday with 
his mother and sister will produce on the manners of the 
schoolboy. It is a pity that German men should not 
submit themselves to be kneaded and rolled into shape 
and gentility by the tender fingers of their wives and 
daughters. There can be no sweeter, tenderer refiners in 
the world than German ladies. They fret out their little 
lives, because they are denied the right to execute their 
proper mission. And German men, full of right principle, 
steady endurance, genius, and power, have in them all the 
elements of the ideally perfect man. But one thing 
is lacking. The diamond must be cut, the silver refined. 
Let them put themselves unreservedly at the feet of their 
wives and sisters. 

The advantage will be mutual. The woman will be 
strengthened whilst the num is being polished. The 
intellectual culture of the race has developed the mental 
powers of women as well as of men. The German woman 
has fiu: more brain power than the English or French 

230 Germany, Present ofid Past 

woman, infinitely more than the Spaniard and Italian ; 
and with the admirable education given her, she is calcu- 
lated to be man's best associate and confidant and help. 
Exteriorly the ideal German woman is different from the 
typical English, Italian, and French woman. The type 
of nationality appears more prominently in woman than 
in man, for it is less modified by circumstances than that 
of the latter. The ideal English face is oval, more or 
less long, with a tendency in old age to become pear- 
shaped. The French face is elongated, with the parallel 
sides from the eye to the jaw long, twice the length of 
the other sides. The typical Grerman fisice, as seen in 
pictures of Grretchen, as met with again and again, is an 
inverted pear, — ^great breadth above the eyebrows, not 
broad and flat, but beautifully arched. An English- 
woman's forehead falls away between the brows and 
temples, and the temples are not wide apart. The 
Grerman face is indicative of mental or spiritual power. 
This is a type, not of physical, but of intellectual beauty. 
An Englishwoman is lovely, a Frenchwoman charming, 
but a Grerman woman is angelic. The German girl has 
not the self-consciousness of the English damsel, the 
coquetry of the French, the lusciousness of the Italian, 
the splendour of the Spaniard — she is not, perhaps, lively 
enough, she is not espials enough, not dazzling, but she 
is maidenly modest, simple, and sweet. A German 
proverb says of the girls of Fatherland : * Every woman 
without a ring on* the third finger is a witch.' The 
witchery is that of Isabel in * Measure for Measure,' and 
not of Circe. 

Can it be 
That modesty may more betray our sense 
Than woman's lightness ? 

Act ii. so. 4. 

Women. 231 

It is the witchery of a pure heart, great self-diflSdence, 
^f-6acrifice, and a rich, ripe mind. 

Ich mag in diesem Hezenheer 
Mich gar zu gem verlierenJ 

' Goethe : Walpurgiiwichtgtraum, 

232 Germany, Present and Past. 



Heil dir, o Platz, der Erholiing geweiht, 
Bachenmnfriedete Einsamkeit 1 
Ehre und Preis sei dem Bauherm der Welt^ 
Der sich aki Tempel den Wald hat bestellt. 

ScHEFFEL : Fran AvewHure, 

When, on a hot summer day, we compare the temperatm*e 
of the soil in a barren sand-flat with that in a corn-field, 
and lastly with that in a forest, we find that the heat is 
greatest in the first and least in the last. The sandy 
waste, the corn-land, and the wood stand at the same 
height above the sea, but there is the widest divergence 
between their temperatures. The reason is very obvious. In 
the first case the action of the sun on the surface of the 
ground is direct, and the soil attains therefore its maximum 
heat ; in the second case the action is less direct, and is 
least of all in the forest. In the forest the thick roof of 
leaves prevents the sun's rays from penetrating, and the 
upper parts of the trees are first heated. The branches 
and trunks are bad conductors, so that it is but slowly 
that the lower strata of air get warmed. As the heat 
descends it meets with a layer of cold air produced by 
evaporation, and this produces an incessant movement of 
atmospheric currents, which, without causing a perceptible 
draught, gives freshness to the air under the greenwood 
trees. The cold layer of air which always lies on the 

Forest Royalty. 233 

surface of the ground in a forest has a tendency to extend 
itself to the circumference of the wood, as the air outside 
is rarified by the intense heat, and then to overflow upon 
the ground, exposed to the glare of the sun. Conse- 
quently the presence of forest land lowers the temperature 
of the neighbourhood during the heat of the day. It is 
quite otherwise at night. 

On the vegetationless surfiice the radiation is direct^ 
and the soil chills rapidly. In the wood, on the contrary, 
the roof of foliage prevents rapid radiation. The warmth 
gathered during the day is stored up, and given off little 
by little, like a German stove. Consequently the forest 
raises the temperature of the neighbourhood during the 

The forest is the great equaliser of temperature in "^ 
Nature. What the ocean does for England, that its forests 
effect for Grermany. 

We can see now how it is, that in treeless wastes, such 
as Siberia, the changes of temperature are so rapid, and 
how that the summer comes in with a glow and fierceness 
of heat directly after a winter of intense and pungent 

In England, surrounded by water, we are independent 
of this natural regulator, but for German agriculture it is 
of the greatest importance that it should be preserved. 

To take one instance — the vines. A late frost will 
destroy the crop for the year. It is essential, therefore, 
that provision should be made to prevent such an occur- 
rence. Nature has provided the requisite moderator of 
the temperature about the best vine-growing parts, — ^the 
Bhine valley, which is hedged in on both sides by tracts of 
woodland. If these tracts were denuded of trees the 
Shine valley would produce no more wines. 

Since Germany has lost so much of its forest th& 

234 Germany^ Present and Past. 

winters have grown colder, and the heat of the summers 
more insupportable.^ 

Even more important than the influence of the woods 
on the temperature is their effect on the rain&ll, and in 
maintaining the streams in flow throughout the summer. 
When the rain falls on the forest, the leaves retain on 
their surfaces the drops for some time, as long as they can 
bear the weight, and then gently lean and let the water 
slowly trickle down. The moisture only very gradually 
saturates the soil, for it is arrested on its way by the 
shrubs, the vaccinisB and fern, the flowers and grasses, 
lastly by the mosses and lichens that cover the ground. 
When the shower ceases to patter on the leafy canopy 
overhead, the rustle of falling drops continues in the 
forest arches below. The tree foliage continues to drip 
upon the tangled growth beneath, and from brier and 
whortle the tiny globules are slowly distilled into the 
thirsty mouths of the earth's pores. It rains in the wood 
for hours after it has rained upon it. Moreover, the slow 
transfer of the water to the soil has allowed of much 
evaporation, and a moist haze surrounds the wood during 
a shower, and garlands the tree-clad mountain after it has 

Now let us briefly describe the passage of a shower 
over a district devoid of trees. A perfectly barren 
land will exhibit the contrast most conspicuously. By 
the downfall the pores of the earth are choked with mud, 
so that the water cannot penetrate. The surface is beaten 
hard, and the moisture, unable to enter, accumulates and 
flows off. The earth is really like a sponge, ready to 
drink in a vast amount of rain, but the mouths are very 
tender and friable, and the least violence breaks the lips 
in and chokes the little throats. This takes place wherever 

' See Rentzsch : Ber Wald, p. 16. 

Forest Royalty. 235 

they are unprotected by vegetation. The water that 
cannot penetrate to slake the thirsty earth runs off down 
eveiy declivity ; and, when the sun bursts forth again, it 
speedily evaporates the superficial moisture, and in 
evaporation the earth gives up much of its heat. Under 
the trees this rapid change cannot take place : every leaf 
of tree and shrub, and blade of grass, and delicate moss 
spreads a shield over the soil to ward off the fieiy darts of 
the sun, and allow the earth to enjoy the sweet rain it 
bas imbibed. The water sinks through the cracks of 
stones, slides down inclined strata, works its way through 
gravel and sandstone, and finally bursts forth in cold 
limpid springs. 

The woods produce, therefore, slow absorption of 
^vater, and also facilitate its percolation and retention in 
the earth. The preservation of the trees is consequently 
essential for the maintenance of the springs. 

On the Tuniberg, a range of hills on the east bank of 
the Bhine above Strassburg, the soil is peculiarly rich. 
As it is broken up into small holdings, every bauer has 
rooted up or cut down the trees that once covered the hills. 
The result has been that the once copious springs which 
supplied the villages at the foot have failed, and the 
peasants suffer every summer great distress for want of 

The woods do more. They keep the atmosphere 
moist. In the forest the evaporation from the soil is 
slow and constant. The forest is a perpetual fountain of 
moist air.^ The importance of this may be judged from 
the fiict that, according to Schleidan,^ an acre of orchard 

^ The leaves also exhale water. Alexander v. Hmnboldt says that 
in the tropical woods of the Orinoco the moisture exhaled hy the foliage 
under a burning son is so great that it forms a constant dew. 

* Die Jiflanzen u. ihr Zeben, 2. Ed. p. 211. 

236 Germany, Present and Past, 

requires in the four summer months five million pounds 
of water. Where this experiment was made, in four 
summer months there fell only 1,600,000 pounds of 
rain-water. But only a portion of the rain that fell was 
used by the plants. There was no doubt a residuimi of 
water in the soil from the winter, autumn, and spring 
rains. But a great amount, there can be no question^ 
was inhaled by the trees through their leaves. Fruit 
requires moisture, not only for its roots, but also for its 
foliage. In a dry atmosphere the fruit will not come to 

In England, with the sea surrounding us, ever sending 
up vapour ready to condense and fall, we labour under no 
anxiety about lack of water. Our wells and streams do 
not often &il. Consequently we are slow to realise how 
very important a matter it is to those living on a conti- 
nent to keep their springs in constant flow, and their 
brooks from becoming mere winter torrents. If the 
forests of Q-ermany were cleared the country would become 
a desert. 

That woods induce a rainfall is well ascertained. In 
the province of Choco, south of Panama, is the richest 
abundance of forest, and the amount of rain that falls is 
considerable. In Payta are treeless plains ; cultivation of 
the soil is extinct, and &r seventeen years not a drop of 
rain has fieillen. The isle of Ascension was once visited by 
showers. The settlers cut down every tree, and rain then 
never fell. Fresh plantations have been made, and a sea 
drizzle has begun to fall about them. When the trees 
have grown and extended they will bring back the rain. 

If the leaves of trees are little screens protecting the 
soil from the heat of the sun, they are screens also breaking 
the force of the wind. I have been in a raging gale on 
the north-coast of Devon, blowing off the sea, and have com- 

Forest Royalty, 237 

pared the force of wind there with that thirty miles inland. 
The gale that on the coast tore ofif a bam roof^ was blunted 
and spent when it reached Dartmoor. Along its road 
were myriadfi of oak-trees, rolling hills covered with tim- 
l)er and coppice, and every tree had held up a myriad of 
litUe jagged shields, and stopped the way with bristling 
twigs, and on this diminutive armour the power of the 
storm was spent. 

The traveller from Calais to St. Omer must have 
noticed, at the distance of about three miles from the sea, 
a low range of hill, about sixty feet above the plain, 
extending parallel to the coast, as far as the eye can reach, 
clothed with firs and oaks. The strip of rising ground 
and wood is not above six hundred yards wide, but it 
marks off most conspicuously the land on one side of it 
from that on the other. From this belt inland, are fields 
and fruit-trees, the former waving with rich crops, the 
latter laden with ruddy apples. A few strides take us 
through the wood, and expose to view a tract of desolation, 
rank grass, no trees, glaring sand-flats, and beyond, the 
dark blue sea. On this Calais coast the wonderful 
breaking power of trees on gales is most conspicuously 
shown. The strip of wood is a mole against which the 
atmospheric waves dash, and exhaust themselves. Along 
the shores of the Baltic, from Memel to Kiel, shores pecu- 
liarly exposed to fierce and freezing blasts, Nature had 
provided a broad green screen of rich forest. The cruel 
east-winds, sweeping over high Asiatic tablelands and 
Russian wastes, were cut off by the forests of Silesia, 
Poland, and Old Prussia. The demand for building-timber 
in England, lavish use for friel, have led to the destruction 
of a great deal of this woodland, — the cutting through of 
the sluices, whereby the cold winds may rush in and 
destroy vegetation. The impecimiosity of Polish nobles 

238 Germany, Present and Past. 

led to speculation by Jews. They bought up their estates^ 
cleared off the forests, and then sold the lands by raffle. 
Baron de Eeiffenberg, who travelled in Grennany in 1842, 
mentions these raffles as conunon ; he was pressed to buy 
tickets at Frankfurt. ' 

On the coast the cutting down of the forest belt led to 
another bad effect : the sands began to spread inland, the 
fierce winds carried the tiny particles before them, and 
swept them over fruitful fields, and piled them up in hills 
where orchards had arrested their onward career. Every 
year the inland march of the sand continued, and whole 
parishes were laid waste which had been fertile and pros- 
perous. On the Lower Ems the sand advanced thirty feet 
every year. 

Frederick William I. cut down a belt of pines on the 
coast between Dantzig and Pillau, and sold the timber for 
200,000 thalers. Within a very few years, the Haf, a large 
lake separated from the sea by the long strip of land, the 
Nehrung, on which grew the pines, was partly choked with 
sand, and the channel by which Elbing communicates 
with the Baltic at Pillau, and with Konigsberg, is 
threatened. The strip of land has been replanted, but the 
moving hills of sand cannot be arrested, and the cost of 
keeping a waterway threatens to become serious. 

In the Prussian province of Saxony, the town of 
Diiben celebrates an annual festival. The forests sur- 
rounding it had been recklessly cleared, and the sand- 
banks which lay to the north-east began at once to move. 
Long tracts of com land were converted into sandy waste : 
the waves of gritty particles began to overleap the hedges, 
and overflow the gardens under the walls of the town. 
Vegetables became scarce, pasture for cattle rare, and the 
most serious results were feared, when the forester of the 

* Nowcemix Smtrefiirs d^AUemagne, Brnxelles, 1843. 

Forest Royalty. 239 

district offered to arrest the desolating invasion. Fifty 
years have elapsed since then. Now rich woods of acacias, 
birch and pines, wave over the sandy hills, and with their 
fine network of rootlets hold the restless sand in its place 
and compel it to quiescence. Every year the citizens of 
Diiben turn out with music and banners — and lagerbeer, 
of course — ^into these woods, and celebrate, with much 
jubilation and great noise, the salvation of their town. 

It has been already seen how the foliage of a forest 
arrests the drops of falling rain, and distils them into the 
earth-pores slowly, as they can imbibe them. When the 
force of the descending streams of rain is not thus broken, 
the consequence is often serious. This is especially the case 
in steeply inclined surfaces. There the heavily &lling rain, 
or rapidly melted snow-water, dashes downwards with 
gathering strength, first drawing with it the light par- 
ticles of decayed vegetable soil, the clay and limestone dust, 
then rolling along with it gravel and stones, and covering 
with them a sloping pasture. Presently the grassy meadow 
is torn and furrowed, and its surface swept away, and raw 
rock, or a bed of rubbish, lies where cattle had pastured. 
And this is probably brought about by some one man, the 
proprietor of a small wood high up the mountain side, 
who wanted to get rid of the trees to extend the pasturage 
for his cattle. For the sake of gaining one acre of alp, 
ten acres of tillage or meadow are devastated below. And 
yet the owner of the wood has done nothing but dispose 
of his property as he thought would best suit his interests. 

In mountainous regions it is almost always the exten- 
sion of pasture which ruins the wood. Searing of cattle 
is naturally proper to such lands as are poor in tillage, and 
far from the centres of traffic. The produce of the soil 
has to be converted into such articles as are of small 
volume with high relative value, and will therefore pay 

240 Germany, Present and Past 

for transport, such as meat, butter, and cheese. As long 
as the forests are retained, less fodder grows than in the 
first few years after they have been cleared away. But 
the rich pasturage on the virgin soil lasts only for awhile. 
The stumps of the trees rot, and the earth, held together 
by the tree-roots, is loosened, and ready to slide off its bed 
of rock when the snows melt and the torrents descend. 
The sun, in summer, bums up the herbage growing out of 
a thin bed of humua superposed on rock, and the mecha- 
nical trampling of the crust by the cattle into loose lumps 
completes the work of destruction. 

The cattle, on whose account the wood was decimated, 
become poorer and poorer. They dwindle with the wood, 
and the destruction of the trees produces in the end the 
direct reverse of what was designed by it. The condition 
of the owners becomes less happy, and the population have 
been reduced to poverty before they have discovered t^e 
cause of their impoverishment. 

Government has everywhere had to interfere' to pre- 
vent this. In Switzerland, its interference has been 
angrily resented, and too often successfully opposed. 
Austria is even more behindhand. But in the Bavarian 
Alps, the forests are carefully guarded and protected against 
wanton destruction. 

In the Eifel, a reckless clearing away of wood has led 
to deplorable results, which a resolute Grovemment has done 
its best to remedy. The English pedestrian probably 
knows the charming Ahr valley opening on the Bhine at 
Sinzig. In the district of the Adenau, the high land of 
the Eifel is cold and subject to rapid changes of tempera- 
ture, and violent storms. The steep sides of the Ahr valley 
and the heights above were at one time well clad with 
trees. But in order to obtain more pasture, the peasants 
cut them down. The cattle scrambling along the steep 

Forest Royalty. 241 

slopes, disintegrated the soil, and with every rainfall, 
much was washed down. After the soil came stx>ne8, and 
the meadows in the bottom were covered with them. 
After every storm a street in Aden^u was buried in 
d^irnJtvs^ and it cost the parish some two pounds a year to 
keep it cleared. In the year 1853 the rent and devastated 
slopes were subjected to systematic drainage. Horizontal 
dykes were cut, and the torrent beds dammed up. Then 
followed the replanting. Larch and spruce and pine 
were planted very densely, with birch, willow, and poplar 
at suitable spots. By 1861, as many as 365 acres of 
devastated slopes were drained and channelled at the cost 
of 350Z., and 165 acres were planted. Some 200 acres 
more were in the hands of small proprietors who could not 
afford to lose a few years' use of their land, and could not 
spend capital on its recovery. 

In the Westerwald half a century ago, oats and barley 
grew on land that now lies 150 to 200 feet above the pre- 
sent line where com is reaped. The tops of the mountains 
were then covered with wood. This has been cut down, 
and the icy storms from the north-west have driven culti- 
vation further into the valleys. 

The forests of Germany are necessary for another rea- 
son. They are to a continental people what the sea is to 
islanders, a region where man can meet the infinite, and 
look into mystery. The woods are not merely barriers to 
the land against sand, they are barriers to the soul against 
materialism. They protect, and keep in imfailing fresh- 
ness, not only the springs of water, but the great fountains 
of original thought in the German mind. 

In the town and the drudgery of life, the poetry, the 
spirituality, the music of man's life is trodden into the 
dust. He must escape into free nature, away from the 
works of men into the sabbath of God, if he is to maintain 

VOL. I. R 

242 Germany^ Present and Past. 

his higher nature in vitality. Man does not live by bread 
alone, but by tasting also of mystery. It is the mystery 
of the sea which lends its charm to the weary mind of the 
English &ctory hand, tradesman, and merchant. It ifl 
the mystery of the forest which gives new life to the 
flagging souls of Germans^ sick with barrack routine, and 
the drudgery of a profession. An Australian said one day 
to me, ' I cannot live in England. The hedges cramp me 
in, I cannot breathe, I cannot laugh, J carnnjot tkimk^ 
Our material and social hedges shut us in, destroy our 
freedom, and with that our power of enjoyment and 
freshness of thought. 

The innumerable leaves of the forest are believed to 
exercise a great sanitary effect on polluted air : they cleanse 
it, destroy miasma, and make it sweet and fresh. They 
produce a similar effect on the moral atmosphere. Let 
any resident in the West End of London viait Kensington 
Park and Ghmiens on Sunday afternoon and evening. 
Under the arches of the elms he will see dusters of 
artisans with their wives and children picnicking, in perfect 
happiness. Barmen, in the Westphalian coal district^ is a 
busy centre of manufecture. Some thirty years ago, 
nothing can have been more disconsolate than the bare 
hills on each side of the Wupper, once covered with trees, 
which had been ruthlessly cut down. The town purohased 
an extensive tract around the place, and laid it out with 
walks among plantations. Now the woods are thronged 
on every Sunday and holiday with thousands of mechanios 
and their fiEimilfes, and those who have lived in Barmen 
assert that the pure pleasures of the woodland walks and 
the fresh, beautiful nature have produced a marked change 
in the character of the people. I cannot but believe that 
the freshness, simplicity, and joyousness of a German's 
pleasure-taking — so different to the blackguardism and 

Forest Royalty. 243 

'brutality of holiday-making among our lower classes — are 
due greatly to the fact that the former enjoys himself in 
nature, and the latter out of it* The former seeks the 
forest, the latter the tavern. 

^ The German people need the forest,' says Biehl, ^ as 
man needs wine.' True, neither is essential to existence. 
A man can do with a little wood for the oven, and a phial 
of wine with a medicine label to it in case of sickness. 
But the German people demand of the forest more than a 
Klafier of dry firewood to warm their outer man ; they 
demand the green tree full of sap and foliage for the 
warming of the inner man, the spiritual part of him. 

German landscape is infinitely more monotonous than 
the English. We have our hedgerows lovely with fern 
and moss and flower, hung with wreaths of primrose and 
bluebell, or bedecked with foxgloves. The trees that 
tstand upon them spread their branches overhead, and the 
lines of trees intersect at the most various and capricious 
angles, making mystery of parcelled and confined land. 
In Germany the bare sur&ce of the soil is far more par- 
celled ; it is ruled in parallel strips, and not a scrap of 
soil is wasted on which wild-flowers may grow. Com, 
hemp, turnips, potatoes — com, hemp, turnips, potatoes 
ad infinitum^ make the dreary plaid dress cast over the 
snrfiu^. Were it not for the common woods fix>m which 
the fuel is cut, the monotony would kill the soul. Ger- 
many must retain its forests, not merely to keep the ovens 
supplied, but also to keep the pulse of the life of the 
people warm, and make it beat joyously. Who can doubt 
that it is to the forest that Germany owes the great firesh- 
ness of its artistic creations when he looks at its architecture 
and wood-engraving, and listens to its VoUcalieder f 

German sculptors originated an unique style of archi- 
tecture, its late ' broken twig ' Gothic, in the fifteenth 


244 Germany, Presefit and Past. 

century, which is the very perfection of Gothic picturesque- 
ness. The inspiration came from the greenwood; th& 
branching pillars, without capitals, the cusping of the 
tracery, the rustication of every detail, recall the forest. 
The like is to be seen nowhere else. French flamboyant 
is the exuberance of a garden, English perpendicular is 
the primness of an espalier walk, but Grerman fifteenth- 
century Crothic is the mystery, richness, and marveUousness 
of the wild-wood. 

Is it possible to doubt the influence of the forest on 
Albrecht Diirer, looking on his ^ Knight and Death,' or 
< Flight into Egypt,' or « S t. Hubert ? ' The branchings of the 
boughs, the massing of foliage, the tangle of the roots, the 
vague mysteriousness of the forest depths, were his delight 
and study. The same may be seen in Lucas von Cranachy 
in Martin Schongauer, and recently in that mostcharming^ 
of artists upon wood, Ludwig Bichter. And in music ? It 
was from the forest that the sweetest of all singers, Weber, 
drew his inspiration. Turn over any collection of VoQcs^ 
lieder, and see how large a proportion is called into 
existence by the forest. 

In sharp opposition to the people of classic antiquity,, 
who never possessed that sympathy with nature which 
could make them observe and describe her in her various 
moods, were the Grerman races, which from the first loved 
and worshipped her. The forest — ^the sacred grove — wb& 
to them the temple of G-od, and the goddess Hertha, in 
her golden car, hid in its sanctuary, and rolled forth once- 
in the year to bestow blessings and fruitfulness on all. 

The broken twilight of the wood, in which the eye was 
perplexed by a thousand changing streaks of light, or 
where reigned an impenetrable gloom, where trunks 
stood in ordered disorder, immovable, whilst every leaf 
and twig danced and trembled, the awfrd hush, broken^ 



Forest Royalty. 2^45 

however, by a variety of unaccountable sounds — all tended 
to invest the forest with solemnity, and make it appeal to 
the religious instincts of the soul, and awake or maintain in 
it a sense of the divine. 

He who lives far away in the depths of the forest, 
who day by day reads in that wonderful open book full of 
marvellous characters which he cannot puzzle out, but 
which he knows are not without a meaning, — he is always 
more pious and superstitious than the citizen, or the 
dweller in the open well-tilled plain. The tillage plants 
are short-lived, a generation that passes away in a twelve- 
month. There is something very prosaic in a turnip. 
The growth of the forest trees is longer than the life of 
man. He who plants the acorn will not fell the oak. In 
the rustle of the broad crown the tree tells us that it was 
before we were bom, and will be when we are forgotten. 
The forest carries our thoughts beyond the narrow bounds 
of our three score years and ten, and shows us our days as 
it were a span long. A year — an age of emotions, joys, 
and sorrows — is marked in the felled beech by a little 

The dweller in the forest is generally a self-possessed, 
Client man, living in his own thoughts, more solitary and 
gloomy than the native of the sunny com and wine land, 
but also much more original. In the forest man develops, 
in the city man is fashioned. He grows there, he is 
moulded here. Through his daily intercourse with nature 
he becomes observant ; through the hard labour of tree- 
felling he waxes strong and sinewy; through a life of 
solitude, hours spent by night in the darkness of the forest, 
he becomes courageous. Living in a region which is 
without bounds, he is passionately fond of freedom ; among 
the works of God, signs of His constant provision for the 
wants of his creatures, he is humble and devout. Bemoved 

246 Germany y Present and Past. 

from the outer world, thrown in on himself, he is ohstinate 
to stubbornness. The woodman is strong of limb and 
heart and lung, the finest specimen of a man that can be 
shown. He is to Crermany what the seaman is to England^ 
the type of fresh, healthy humanity. 
-^ Lastly, but not least, the forests of Grermany are tlie 
great fuel stores. In Grermany the coal-fields are few. 
Them are beds over eight geographic miles to the north or 
the Lippe in Westphalia, and in Silesia, and at Saar- 
briicken, but 45 per cent, of the coal raised in Germany 
comes from the Westphalian beds. 

In 1872, in England were raised over 125,000,000 tonB^ 
in the same year in Germany 42,000,000. It is quite im- 
possible to supply fuel for domestic purposes for all Germany 
from the coal-fields ; partly because the beds are not suffi- 
cient, and partly because of the enormous distances which 
the coal would have to be conveyed. The mainstay of the 
householder must be the forest or the tiuf moor. A turf 
moor seven feet deep gives as much fuel as ten times that 
space covered with firs 120 years old. The turf takes 
from 100 to 200 years to grow.* Turf moors cover 1,840 
square miles of Germany. Of these 1,040 are in the eight 
old provinces of Prussia, and 520 in the three newly 
acquired provinces. 

According to Hartig,^ a Prussian estate of 1200-1800 
acres requires annually 60 Klafbem ' of pinewood for fuel. 
An estate of 91-120 acres requires 10 Klafbem; one of 
30-60 acres demands 6 Klaftem, and a cottage with 30 
acres must consume 4^ Klaftem. But the amount of fuel 
required by a family varies according to the climate, the 

> Pf 111 : Forstbenutzun^, p. 366. 

• AUgemHne Ibrgtordnungy p. 73. 

' A Klafter is 144 cubic feet, but 44 cubic feet are deducted for the 
space between the blocks : consequently it equals 100 cubic feet of solid 



Forest Royalty. 


season, and the number of stoves in the house. The 
climate in Germany is very different in different parts. 
In the east of the province of Old Prussia, the average 
temperature in January is —6 Cent.; at Mannheim, 
Cologne, and Diisseldorf -f 2. At Augsburg it is — 5, at 
Bremen -f- 1* A labourer's &mily cannot possibly do with 
less than 2\ Elaftem of firewood in an average winter. In 
six months (winter) in the South of Germany, my consump- 
tion for four stoves (kitchen-fire included) was 3^ Klaftem. 
In the winter of 1877-8, a Klafter cost from 42 to 44 marks, 
and the sawing up 3 marks more. This made my fuel- 
ling for six months come to 9{. It would cost a cottager 
in fuel for the year 62. 108. But a poorly-built cottage 
will not keep out cold like one with thick walls. It has 
been calculated that the ratios in which a battened walled 
house, and one of stone or brick one foot thick, and one 
that has walls two feet thick, stand in their requirements, are 
235 : 120 : 50. In fact, the cottage demands nearly 
five times as much fuel to keep it warm as does the stoutly- 
built house. Consequently 6Z. 10^. is, I fear, the lowest 
sum at which we can fix the poor man's ezpenditmre for 
necessary fueL In Bavaria the price of firewood rose 
between 1831 and 1857 as much as 58 per cent., building 
and carpentering timber 64 per cent. In well-wooded 
Wiirtemberg firewood cost per Klafter in English money — 





9. d. 

«. d. 

«. d. 

«. d. 

ClftlC • ■ • ■ 







30 6 

r6o 0' 

\42 0« 



11 9 

24 6 




7 9 




Fir . 

7 2 

16 8 


26 3 


» Branches. 

248 Germany^ Present and Past. 

It will be seen that what cost a poor man thirty-five 
shillings in 1850 cost him in the winter of 1877-78 one 
hundred and thirty. If wood were allowed by Grovemment 
to be cut down by any one who wanted to raise money, 
and as nearly every bauer does want this to pay off 
mortgages on his feLrm, in a few years Germany would 
be denuded of forests, and the poor would be imable to 
purchase fuel. In another thirty years two Klaftem and a 
half would cost 322. 108. 

As long as there was no need for sparing forests they 
were regarded as conunon property, excepting only those 
which belonged to the crown. In the Burgundian law * 
any one was allowed to cut down trees not fruit-bearing 
in any wood {in cujuslibet sylva). But the Visigoth laws, 
and those of Kothar and Luitprand, show the dawning of 
the idea of proprietorship in woods. In the old Frank 
times there were common forests and also private forests. 
On the Rhine, till the twelfth century, woods were common. 
In woods belonging to a parish, oak and beech might not 
be cut down for fuel, but only for building purposes. The 
oaks were spared chiefly because the swine fed on the 
acorns.^ Later, the Gemeinde decided how many trees 
and how many waggon-loads each householder was entitled 
to in the year. The measure of the wood-cart was also 
fixed. It is stated on the west entrance of Freiburg 
Minster. Wood might not be cut down for sale, and 
charcoal-burners, coopers, and wheelwrights worked for 
the parish, using its wood, and were paid a wage for their 
work. It was necessary for the towns to have large 
forests, as the villages refused to sell wood to the citizens. 
During the Crusades the towns bought forests of the nobles 
who desired to go to the East, and thus it happens that 

' Lex Bwrgund, zxviii. 1, 2. 

* SaoJufen-Sjnt'gely ii. 28; Schwaben- Spiegel, 196. 

Forest Royalty. 249 

tnost cities in Germany possess large tracts of forest land. 
Niimberg was a &ee city with aBurggrave resident in the 
castle. The Burggrave had the royal forests for chase, 
but the citizens were allowed to cut building-timber and 
fuel from it. 

Hagenau received the royal forests aroimd in feof in 
1164 from Frederick I. Bostock bought something like 
ten thousand acres of forest in 1252. 

The crown and the princes appropriated forests for 
hunting purposes. The Vosges were made a royal 
preserve in 590 ; ^ the Ardennes at the beginning of the 
ninth century. But the ' Sachsen-Spiegel ' mentions only 
three preserves in all Saxony. There were royal forests 
near Niimberg, Biidingen, Montjoie, Aachen, and Altdorf ; 
others at Kaiserlautem, Speier, Friedberg, the Steiger- 
wald, and Weissenburg. In the twelfth century, the 
nobles b^an to create preserves for their own chase. 
Their rights {Bann) extended only to the game and to 
the large timber. The scrub and fallen wood were firee 
to all to take, and the villagers in the neighbourhood 
retained their rights to supply themselves thence with 
fueL Charlemagne forbade inconsiderate devastation of 
forest land, and he made royal parks in Osnabriick ^ cum 
eollaudatione potentium istius regionis.' In all forests 
the peasants had a right to feed their swine on the mast. 
In Westphalia the labourers and cotters had equal rights 
in the woods with the lords of the manor. 

But in the sixteenth century the forests had so 
dwindled, and fire-wood had become so dear, that the 
princes issued a number of orders controlling the cutting 
down of timber, and taking the forests under their sovereign 
protection. This was the beginning of the Forsthoheit or 
Forest Royalty. The princes appointed a class of officials 

> Greg. Tnron. H, F, x. 10. 

250 Germany i Present and Past. 

whose duty it was to see after the fuel supply in their 
proviuces, and look after the protection of trees, just as 
the police have to see to the protection of citizens. 
The Forest royalty is exercised in three ways : — 

1. The State forbids the rooting up of fiDrests which 
are private property, without consent of the State. This 
was made law in Brandenburg in 1688. But Frederick I. 
removed these restrictions with most disastrous results. 

2. The State insists on all private forests being placed 
under the supervision of the Government officers, who 
inspect, order replanting, or approve, if the owner retains 
the management in his own hands, otherwise the State 
will undertake the management for him. No man is 
allowed to cat down a tree on his own estate unless it has 
been marked by the Government inspector of forests. 
This was the law in Baden in 1574, in Brunswick in 1591, 
in Wiirtemberg in 1614, in Bavaria in 1616. 

3. The State, in addition to this right of supervision 
and control, claims a right to purchase wood of private 
proprietors at a fixed tariff, or even free of payment, 
for ship-building, fortifications, &c. This is generally 

In Bavaria, severe rules were laid down in 1772 and 
1786 affecting all forests except those in the hands of the 
nobility. In 1791 the French Bepublican Government 
abandoned its former control over private forests, and in 
1792 over communal woods ; but in 1803 Napoleon for- 
bade the rooting up of woods for twenty-one years, as in the 
twelve years that had elapsed since 1791 as many as 
three million acres of wood had been devastated. From 
1803-35, only five hundred thousand acres were cleared. 

In 1827, again in 1847, 1850, and 1853, the same 
prohibitions were issued. In Bavaria in 1803, licence 
was given to private owners to clear woods and cut down 

Forest Royalty. 251 

trees at pleasure. In France and in Q-ermany every 
revolution leads to the devastation of woodland. Needy 
peasants are angry and impatient at the restraints put 
on their axes. They want ready money and care nothing 
about the price of wood to their children and grand* 
children. The forest laws gall them constantly. They 
could buy off the Jew who sits on their shoulders and 
eats the fruit of their land, like the Old Man of the Sea 
on Sinbad, if only they could realise by clearing their 
trees away. In the country, when revolution breaks out^ 
the bauer seizes his aie. He does not rush against 
castles, and storm cities, but lays low beech and oak which 
have stood the storms of half-a-oentury. He is essen- 
tially improvident, and the Government has to restrain 
him from cutting his own throat. 

The commimal forests were often subdivided among 
the bauers, who proceeded to there and then efiace their 
lots of wood. This subdivision is now forbidden through- 
out Grermany and France. * Jamais,' says the * Code Fores- 
tier' of 1827. Prussian law, indeed, allows subdivision of 
communal forest among the freeholders, but forbids the 
turning of the woodland into tillage, except in special 
instances, approved by Government commissioners. A 
fliTnil5ir law was passed in Bavaria in 1834. Private 
owners are now, in Germany, only allowed to clear a wood 
under two conditions : — 

1. That the Government be informed beforehand, and 
be satisfied that such cutting down of a wood in no way 
endangers the interests of others. 

2. That the ground cleared be either replanted with 
trees r brought under higher culture. 

Government, moreover, in France and Germany, will 
not allow land to lie waste, whether in public or private 
possession. In France all waste patches must be planted* 


Germany^ Present aftd Past. 

If the owner of the land have not the means to do it, the 
State will supply him with seeds, or will buy and plant 
the ground, and resell it to the original owner at cost price 
after six years. The average cost of planting is thought 
to be 76 francs for the hectare. The owner is, how- 
ever, not allowed to destroy the trees, but must pre- 
serve the plantation subject to Crovemment control. By 
Bavarian law, a private owner, if he &xms his woods badly, 
may be arrested and fined, and the Grovemment takes the 
management of his woods upon it, and repairs the damage 
done at the proprietor's cost. The proportions of forests 
in the hands of the crown, of the communes, and of pri- 
vate holders, are : — 



Private property 

In Bavaria 




„ Hanover • 




„ Saxony 



69-6 1 

„ Wiirtemberg 



80-4 : 

„ Hesse-Darmstadt 



29-3 ' 

„ Baden .... 




y, Austrian Alps 




,9 Prussia • . « 




M France 




„ Belgium 




In 1811 Prussia abandoned all control over private 
forests, and allowed every man to cut down trees on his 
own grounds without asking permission of the State. The 
theories of the rights of property propounded by Adam 
Smith were accepted as gospel truths and acted upon. 
Mediaeval interference with the free mobilisation of capital 
was regarded as a barbarism. The Kingdom of Saxony, 
Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Altenburg, Anhalt, Hanover, Olden- 
burg, Schleswig-Holstein followed the lead of Prussia. 
Throughout the North of Crermany the axe rang all day. 
The high lands of Saxony became bare. The plains to 

Forest Royalty, 253 

the Baltic, once covered with pines^ were converted into 
desolate heaths: Anhalt was denuded of trees. Oaks 
hecame extinct everywhere, then beech, and no woods 
of deciduous trees remained. Even the pine vanished, 
and only the larch survived. In 1846 there was scarce an 
oak left in Mecklenburg. The high ground of Schleswig- 
Holstein is now barren. Before 1811 it was covered with 
birch woods and oak coppice. 

But in the South of G-ermany the restraining hand was 
not withdrawn. In Nassau there are few private forests, 
but in 1815 their extermination was forbidden. In Hesse- 
Cassel in 1821, and again in 1830, measures were passed 
protecting woods firom their proprietors. So in Hesse- 
Darmstadt in 1819. In Hesse-Homburg all owners of 
wood covering twelve acres were obliged to place them 
under Government supervision. In Baden, in 1821, strict 
laws of similar purport were passed, but abandoned in 1831. 
All the little holders began at once to clear their farms of 
mortgages by felling their timber. In 1854, when the 
mischief had become serious, and the price of wood had 
risen enormously, all devastation of private woods was for- 
bidden, and they were placed either under Government 
management or inspection. In Wiirtemberg, control over 
the private forests and woods has never been abandoned. 

To remedy in some way the havoc wrought by private 
owners, the Prussian Government has made large pur- 


chases of land, and planted it. In 1820 the Prussian 
Government owned 2,409,917 hectares of forest, in 1865 
only 2,052,334 ; but in 1873, in the old provinces, 2,083,732. 
Since 1857 there have been on an average ten thousand 
acres annually planted of land that had been denuded of 
its trees, or of barren moor. The area of State forests in 
Prussia, Posen, and Westphalia, has increased 38,604 
hectares between 1851 and 1871 ; in Brandenburg, Pome- 

254 Germany y Present and Past. 

rania, Silesia, Saxon proyinoes, and the Rhineland, it has 
decreased by 24,090 hectares : but the total gain has been 
about 14,500. Since 1871 the State has on an average 
ax^uired 6,930 hectares of new forest land. It was high 
time for something to be done, for between 1837 and 
1867 oak wood had risen 59 per cent, in price, pine logs 
65 per cent., beech fire-wood 67 per cent., and fir-wood 
for firing 84 per cent. 

Throughout Germany, whatever may be the local 
laws restraining private owners firom cutting down trees, 
or communes firom parcelling and ' stubbing ' their woods, 
the Crovemments have a special department of police, 
the foresters, whose duty it is to see to the replanting and 
tending and thinning of forests. The science of arbori- 
culture is carried by these functionaries to the highest 
pitch of perfection. It will no doubt astonish the English- 
man to hear that the foresters support thirteen news- 
papers and periodicals, two of which are illustrated ; as 
well as three kalendars specially dedicated to their science. 
Between October 1st and December 3l8t, 1878, the press 
issued twenty-three works on their special subjects and the 
chase. In 1876 over seventy books were published dealing 
with forests and hunting. 

It is only possible for me very briefly to sketch the 
system pursued in the cultivation of trees. Forests ate 
divided into three classes according to the length of time 
they are allowed to grow. 

1. Hochwald {futaie) consists of trees suffered to 
attain their full growth before they are cut down. 

2. Niederwald {taiUia evmple) is coppice. The trees 
are cut down before they are full grown, and allowed to 
spring up again from the roots. Only dead stocks are re- 

3. Mittelwald (taiUis souafutaiea) is a combination of 

Forest Royalty, 255 

both the preceding methods. Some old trees are allowed 
to stand, and between them is coppice, periodically cut. 

Of all three sorts, the Hochwald brings in the greatest 
gross receipt, both in wood and other products. Each 
tree grows in its childhood relatively fast, but absolutely 
slow. Trees will allow of being cut down four times in 
120 years, at periods of thirty years. The same piece of 
land which, cultivated as Niederwald (coppice), will give 
aimually fifty klafters, as Hochwald will yield annually on 
an average 100 klafters. In the coppice no use can be 
made of the ground for pasture. In the Hochwald cattle 
may feed, if the trees be not too thickly planted. In the 
Mittelwald more leaf is grown and shed — the natural 
manure of the soil — ^but in the Hochwald it can be re- 
moved with greatest care and least injury to the trees. 
In Germany the fallen foliage is much used for bedding 

The old trees exhaust the soil of the valuable consti- 
tuents less than do the young trees. Thus a pine aged 
220 years gives 1-13 per cent of ash, a pine aged 170 
gives 1*98, and one aged 135 years gives 2*92. 

The Hochwald demands greater outlay and labour. It 
is estimated that an acre of pine without Niederwald costs 
five thalers, Hochwald with deciduous trees three thalers, 
but Niederwald only | thaler per anniun. Hochwald 
cultivation demands heavy outlay, and no return in a life- 
time or indeed in two generations. The best building 
timber takes longest growing. 

In Baden it is estimated that for the production of one 
million klafters of fire-wood, annually, i.6. firing for 
200,000 households at five klafters each, timber of ninety 
years' growth over 1,500,000 acres is required ; and with 
timber of thirty years' growth on 2,811,000 acres." The 

* Morgen. — ^A Mozgen us leally in Baden ■ 0*8600 hectare. An acre 


Germany, Present and Past 

maximum of growth in beech, the best firing wood for 
fitoves, is between the 70th and 1 20th years, in pines 
between the 30th and 80th. 

In low and wet situations, trees decline much earlier ; 
and there Niederwald pays best. It has been calculated 
that a Prussian Morgen, Le. about 2^ roods, will yield : — 


28 cubic feet of oak 

24 cabic feet of oak 

OngoodsoU . 












On moderately 
good soil . 











f 12 
On bad soil . . ^2 









The town of Freiburg in Baden in 1289 purchased a 
forest of 7,936,623 hectares of wood for 1,300 marks of 
silver of two impecunious nobles. In the fifteenth cen- 
tury more forest was bought, and again more in 1844. 
Within the last forty years these forests have been syste- 
matically and scientifically farmed ; with what results 
the following statistics will show, 

The city now possesses 32,340,285 hectares of forest- 

Between 1842 and 1851 the net receipt for sale of 
wood was 21,535{., or 17«. 4(i. per hectare, every year. 

Between 1852 and 1861 the net receipt was 31,8322., 
or 198. \d* per hectare, annually. 

Between 1862 and 1871 the net receipt was 32,3102., 
or 209. Ic2. per hectare, annually. 

is 0-4047. A Prussian Moigen = 0*2553 h. A Saxon M. =» 0*5540 h. A 
Wiirtemberg M.- 0*31 52 h. : a Hessian M.«= 0*2500. 

Forest Royalty. 


Ket receipt. 

Per hectare. 


. £ 4,929 

£X 10 6 





. 10,237 

3 3 3 



2 16 



2 5 



15 6 

The average annual receipt per hectare has therefore 
been \l. 188. 

The forests as the haunt and nursery of the deer and 
wild boar are the training ground of men to activity, and 
keenness of sight, and accuracy of shot, besides supplying 
tiiem with a fund of happiness. In this respect the forests 
have also their advantage to a people who are without 
public games, a youth which knows not cricket and football, 
and whose only idea of taking vigorous recreative exercise 
is in pursuing the deer under the boughs of the greenwood. 

Im Wald und auf der Heide 
Da sach ich meine Freude : 
Ich bin ein Jagess Mazm. 

During more than a hundred years, social politicians 
have done battle for cultivated soil, for the tillage of the 
peasant, to emancipate it from feudal burdens, and allodify 
it. For a thousand years war has been waged against 
the wood and waste, the plough has driven back the 
heather and the bush further and further. But now 
social politicians are aroused to the necessity of main- 
taining the rights of the forest, of doiug battle for the 
wilderness against cultivation. Men have fought for 
freedom to enslave the soil, and now it is discovered that 
the earth avenges herself, fights a servile war, unless she 
also be allowed here and there space to breathe and extend 
her arms, and shake off the manacles imposed on her by 
civilisation. By Jewish law the field was allowed its 
sabbath. In the forest the earth reposes firom its work 
and keeps its jubilee. 

70L. I. 8 

258 Germany y Present and Past. 



There is no darkness but ignorance. 

Twelfth Nighty act ir. sc. 2. 

In 1878, the Canton of Aaraa removed every restriction 
which prevented the free practice of medicine. Before 
the beginning of the year, the State allowed none to cut 
and physic who could not show their credentials and 
prove their qualification. No sooner was this restriction 
removed, than the Canton was invaded by a legion of 
quacks. If the death-rate be not raised, it will be sur- 

In England, in the matter of education, the State 
leaves the field clear to empirics. She makes no pro* 
vision that the education of her children shall be sound 
and wholesome except only among the poor. A good 
rudimentary education is provided for the lowest class. 
No provision whatever is made for the upper and middle 
classes. No doubt the upper class is sufficiently alive to 
the importance of education^ to take care of itself, but 
this is not the case with the middle class, which is ravaged 
by a legion of impostors. 

In December 1864, a Boyal Commission was issued 
authorising Lord Taunton, Lord Stanley, Sir Stafford 
Northcote, and others to inquire into the state of the 
schools for secondary education. Their province was 
bounded on the one hand by the scope of the Commission 

Education. 259 

of 1858 for inquiry into the state of the primary schools 
of the country, and on the other by the scope of the Com- 
mission of 1861 for inquiry intiO the state of the nine 
great public schools — Eton, Winchester, Westminster, &c. 
All the schools between these two categories fell under 
the new Commission. 

The results fill twenty thick volumes of reports. Over 
eight hundred schools had to be separately inspected and 
reported on. The work of the Commissioners was divided 
into two parts, one of which followed as the consequence 
of the other. They had first to ascertain the present con- 
dition of our middle-class schools, and next to suggest 
means for their improvement. 

The middle-class schools of England are of three 
distinct orders — endowed grammar-schools, proprietary 
schools, and private schools. All these fell under the 
terms of the Commission, but as the endowed schools 
formed the only class with which the State supposed it had 
a right to interfere, it was chiefly these which were ex- 
amined and reported on. The proprietary and private 
schools, as the property of individuals, were not interfered 
with, on the grounds, which I cannot but think altogether 
mistaken, that the State was not justified in meddling 
with them. 

There are in England and Wales 782 endowed schools, 
which in whole or in part devote themselves to the work 
of secondary education. They educate 36,874 boys. The 
nine great public schools educate 2,956, and the pro- 
prietary schools 12,000. This gives a total of less than 
52,000 boys receiving secondary education in the endowed 
and proprietary schools of this country. As it was calcu- 
lated in 1865 that there were 255,000 boys of the age 
and social status to require secondary education, it appears 
that there are over 200,000 boys left to be educated at 


26o Germany^ Present and Past. 

private schools^ that is, the public and proprietary schools 
educate less than 20 per cent, of our middle-class youth. 

The condition of these private schools is not such as to 
make this fsuat an agreeable one to contemplate. In a set 
of establishments so numerous, and so varied, so entirely 
free from every kind of organisation and control, there 
must necessarily be every degree of goodness and badness. 
The Commissioners reported of such as they inspected that 
some were indeed * good ' or * passable,' but that many were 
' exceedingly bad.' In some cases the masters were found 
to be intelligent and conscientious, in others to be in- 
competent. Some schools were the flourishing but rotten 
result of ' successful charlatanism.' On the whole, the 
condition of these schools was pronounced to be ^ lament^ 
ably unsatisfactory.' Among the more expensive sort of 
private schools there is a minority of good, and a majority 
of bad ones. The cheaper class of private schools seemed 
to be almost all bad. Bad premises, unqualified teachers, 
utter confusion, formed the principal features of most of 
the pictures of this class of school, painted for us by the 
official inspectors. Nearly fifteen years have elapsed 
since this Commission was appointed ; and what has been 
done to remedy the mischief? Nothing. Absolutely 
nothing. Another generation of our middle class is grow- 
ing up in schools which are a disgrace to our civilisation, 
in which they are inadequately taught, their minds not 
educated, but crammed, their moral character debased. 

In Germany no man may teach unless he has satisfied 
Government that he is qualified to instruct ; and no school 
can be carried on in buildings not adapted to the purpose. 
In Germany the State supposes that it is responsible to 
the nation to see that the education given to aU classes be 
wholesome and solid, and to ward off from it the perils of 
having its young incompetently, inefficientiy, erroneously 

Education. 261 

instmcted. Before proceeding to see what the Grerman 
system is, I wish here to bring before English readers the 
impression left on the mind of a Grerman who has for some 
years been a master in om* middle schools. I have com- 
pared his experiences with those of another Grerman, and I 
find the report of both is the same. I may add that the 
gentleman whom I quote has passed through two Grerman 

The ushers for the private schools are provided by 
scholastic agencies ; these furnish masters of all sorts for 
schools^ English as well as foreign. Here at once we strike 
at the root of one evil in these schools. The agency 
pockets a sum from the principal and from the usher on a 
new appointment. It is obvious, therefore, that the 
oftener a vacancy occurs, the more rapid is the return. 

An usher is engaged at Christmas for 602. He pays 
at once to the agent 21. 108. If he be dismissed at Easter, 
and the agent finds him another situation for the same 
sum, he gets again 22. 108. If the usher again loses his 
place, and is recommended for the third term to a similar 
situation, the agent pockets 7{. 108. from him alone in 
the twelvemonth. How much he gets from the principal 
on each appointment I do not know. But each vacancy 
means two payments. An agent very unscrupulous, and 
desirous of making the most of his opportunities, finds it 
therefore in lus interest to appoint bad men to good 
situations, and good men to schools where they cannot in 
self-respect remain. A good man in a good situation will 
stick there. But a man who is forced to leave every 
quarter is a goose that lays a golden egg four times in the 

I do not assert that the agents act on this principle, 
but it is obviously in their interest to do so. If they do 
not, they rise superior to the system. 

262 Germany^ Present and Past. 

In Greimany, a G-ovemment Board appoints on a 
vacancy occurring in a school. The Board examines the 
candidates, and nominates the most worthy or the most 
suited to the post. Since 1810, no teacher may open a 
school or go as private tutor who has not undergone 
examination. It is illegal for patrons or principals of 
schools to nominate any persons who have not proved their 
efficiency. A foreigner may not teach his native language 
without having obtained a fcuyuMas docendi. In Eng- 
land a host of incompetent persons pass themselves off as 
tutors and governesses who in Germany would be rejected 
by the Board. 

We, in our dread of seeing the liberty of the subject 
curtailed, and Government interfering vdth matters social 
but not political, shrink from interference of this sort. 
But why should we? We expect the Government to 
stand between the child and its parents for its protection, 
when the father and mother brutally ill-treat it; the 
State will not allow the drunken parent to kick and break 
its tender bones, but allows him absolute freedom to 
cripple and distort its mental and moral faculties. We 
allow the School Board to enter the cottage and force the 
ignorant parent to send the children to school. The 
parent maybe sees no profit in learning, but the State 
knows better, and brushes his objections aside. It has a 
right to do so. But there we halt. The middle classes 
are worse provided for than the classes below. The State 
makes no provision for their education, or that the 
* educators of them shall not be wretched impostors. 

In Germany every stratum of society is treated with 
like impartiality, like justice. The State secures that the 
son of the day-labourer and the son of the prince shall 
alike have properly proved and authorised instructors. 

I believe that among the upper classes in England 

Education. 263 

there is no knowledge of the wretchedness of the education 
with which the great shopkeeping and farming mass in 
society is content. In the hope of bringing this know- 
ledge home to them I shall quote the experiences of a 
German gentleman, in a series of letters to Mends in his 
native land which they have kindly placed at my disposal : 
some are already in print, but not yet published : I have, 
of course, condensed much. 

^ I came,' he writes, ^ to England first induced by an 
advertisement of a scholastic agency in London, which 
appeared at intervals in the GFerman papers, and which 
probably still spasmodically appears there. This adver- 
tisement announced that vacancies for foreign masters 
existed in several excellent schools in England at salaries 
ranging from ZOl. to 300Z. I was fired with eagerness to 
go to England and acquire a good knowledge of the 
language, which I could read but not speak well. I wrote 
at once, and received in reply from the agent a form 
which I had to fill up, stating my age, height, confession, 
and qualifications. The agent r^^etted that the situations 
advertised were already filled, but recommended my 
coming to London, when, he said, one suitable would be 
readily found. 

'Of these agents there are an abundance, and they 
must be considered, I suppose, a necessary evil. Through 
them principals and assistants are brought together. The 
principals by these means provide themselves at a cheap rate 
with ushers, and the candidates for scholastic offices have 
no other opportunity of making themselves known. There 
is advertising, I allow, but that is costly. I tried it in the 
** Times,** the •* Daily News," and the « Guardian,*' but the 
only answers I received were from agents, offering their 
assistance. How little reliance may be placed on these 
gentry may, however, be guessed from the tajct that I was 

264 Germany^ Present and Past. 

in connection with eight of them at a time, and yet for 
three months could get no engagement. 

^ As soon as I entered into communication with each 
agent I was required to sign an agreement, so that I could 
be legally compelled to pay his exactions. The charges of 
these agents are all alike. An engagement with board is 
paid for to them at 5 per cent, of the annual salary^ 
Thus, if I take a situation at 502. per annum, I pay down 
22. 10a. to the agent on entering upon it, whether I keep it 
for ten months or ten years. Consequently, as a fordign 
teacher only too soon discovers by bitter experience, it is 
not in the interest of the agents to engage respectable 
men for respectable situations. On the contrary, they 
force a disreputable usher into a good school, knowing 
that the principal must dismiss him at the end of the 
quarter or half-year, and they only offer inferior situations 
to men of character and good attainments, knowing that 
they will find their position so intolerable that they will 
throw up their masterships rather than endure further 

<Let me give you an instance from what went on 
before my eyes. My agent was given car^e-&2cmc&e by the 
master of a school to engage for him in all haste a pro- 
fessor of foreign languages, as he had been obliged preci- 
pitately to dismiss his French master. The agent 
accordingly smnmoned a host of candidates to a personal 
interview. I was among them. The concourse of various 
types and nationalities was curious, and would have served 
a painter with a subject, but would have been a despair to 
a pedagogue seeking in it for the twentieth time a suit- 
able usher for the education of youth. There were de- 
bauched students who had been obliged to leave their 
universities, clerks and waiters dismissed for peculation^ 
nungry French barbers. Communists, Spanish refugees. 

Education. 265 

adyenturers of all sorts, tradesmen's apprentices out of 
work, Savoyards who had lost their organs or whose 
monkeys had died ; there were lads of sixteen, who did 
not know that it was not en rigle on such an occasion to 
pocket their pipes ; there were also greyhaired teachers 
grown r^ged and abject in their misery, ready to fawn 
on and grovel before the agent if he would but cast them 
into some situation which would save them from imminent 

^ It was a sad, but a droll picture ; and it was curious 
to see how conscientiously all submitted to English 
etiquette in bringing with them umbrella and silk hat* 
Some, indeed, brought their hats in paper boxes, and 
hastily took them out for their presentation, and donned 
the greasy wideawake again the moment the interview 
was over. 

^The assembly was one of various tongues. Some 
spoke three, others four or five languages. The only one 
who spoke Tione was a Swabian, and on him the agent 
pounced, and him he selected.^ 

^Engagements for Continental schools are charged 
at the rate of 10 per cent, of the annual salary. My 
agent-in-chief dearly loved concluding these, and sending 
his dupes abroad — the further the better. Of course, not 
a word was said about the requisite facultas docendi de- 
manded in Germany. 

^ I was in the agent's office one day, when a young 
English gentleman came— evidently a gentleman in the 
English acceptation of the term — and asked when his 

' The Swabian Gennan— that of the Schwarzwald and Wiirtemberg 
is thought the yery worst dialect in Germany; it is not understandable 
by a North German. The Swabian chosen by the agent to teach French 
and German was not only incompetent to teach French, but also his 
native language. Ibr that rea$on ths preference was accorded kvui over 
aU other candidates. 

266 Germany^ Present and Past. 


brother was to start for a situation in Switzerland which 
the agent had promised him. '* To-morrow," answered Mr. 
B ; ^ so now will you be so good as to pay the com- 
mission ? The salary is 50?., consequently our due is 5i." 
The young man drew out his purse and paid the sum 
required. As he turned to leave he added, ** Of course 
you guarantee this situation to him." The agent was 
thrown for a moment into perplexity ; then he said, ** No, 
sir, that we do not. It is quite impossible for us to do 
that. We do our best to assist your brother to a situation 
which we have every reason to believe is vacant, but we 
will guarantee nothing." I thought to myself, "Very 
probably, when the unfortunate gull gets to Switzerland, 
he will find that there is no vacancy, or that the salary is 
something very much smaller than that on which he has 
paid 10 per cent." The poor lad, if he found himself 
duped, after having spent as much as he could afford on 
his journey, would certainly not attempt to recover his 5^ 
from the sharks who had swallowed it by throwing lOZ. to 
the legal sharks to help him. On that the agents reckon. 

' In much the same way shoals of Swiss and G-ermans 
are drawn away from their native land by false repre- 
sentations — the latter especially, hoping thereby to escape 
militaiy service ; and when they come to London they 
have to wait three, six, or nine months before they can 
get a post, and then get one which in drudgery and 
degradation is infinitely below anything they would have 
had to undergo in the barrack. And if they have onoe 
shirked duty they dare not return : they have made 
their bed, and they writhe on it. But these agents are to 
blame for systematically encouraging them to desert their 
fatherland by holding out to them prospects which cannot 
be realised. 

^ Engagements without board and lodging in England 

Education. 267 

^ere charged a commission of 10 per cent. Why I could 
never discover. Probably there was not so rapid a change 
in these. No commission is under a guinea. 

^ But this is not all. I learned later that it is possible 
to buy of an agent a good situation, by offering to give 
ten, fifteen, or twenty per cent. The reason why I was 
kept so long waiting, and why I never got a chance of a 
good situation, was, because I did not offer a higher per- 
•centage than that proposed. I can name three friends 
who thus purchased places in good schools, where they 
receive excellent pay, by offering and giving to the agents 
25 per cent, of the salary for them. The sole reason why 
they got these places instead of other men equally worthy 
was that they paid the agents 37^. 108. for them instead 
•of 11. 108. All agents do not act thus, perhaps, but some 
•certainly do. 

^ The agency that I entered into correspondence with 

first of all was in . Imagine the bone-house in 

our cemetery at home divided into four by lath and 
plaster waUs, and in place of the skulls ranged round the 
walls on shelves put blue paper boxes labelled with names 
of schools, head masters, assistants, valuations for a 
liquidation, cuttings from newspaper advertisement sheets 
and the like, and you will get an idea of the interior of 
this scholastic agency. The divisions are numbered. 
They are all lighted fi'om above ; I verily believe the 
illumination of the system is from below. Boom No. 1 
is destined for clients less likely to be lucrative, in which 
they are expected to kick their heels daily for about three 
hours. No. 2 is the cell in which the actual swindling 
process is conducted. No. 3 is the den in which the 
cheap and profitable wretches are imprisoned. The object 
of No. 4 is to me unknown ; it is, I suspect, the inner 
lurking-hole of the spider. 

268 Germanyy Present and Past. 

< When I called at an early hour, the head agent had 
not arrived, and his associate was content to have me 
there to help him in deciphering some French and 
German letters which had come in by the early post, — 
letters from flies caught by such advertisements as had 
caught me. 

^ I opened my eyes then. The light was beginning to 
dawn on me. Puppies, as every one knows, are bom blind, 
but pitch them into the water, and they unclose their eyes 
instantly, get a glimpse of light, and drown. It was so 
with me. I was touching and about to sink in the water 
of adversity. I gained my sight at the same moment. I 
saw how the agents manage these matters. Many of the 
correspondents had sent certificated copies of their charac- 
ters and qualifications. These were flung into the waste- 
paper basket. I was not allowed to read their letters 
through, all that was wanted of them was the five francs, 
sent for registration and postage, their names and 
addresses. The under-agent tore off the fly-leaves of 
their letters, as he snatched them from me, to use for his 
own correspondence with his victims, and tossed the 
letters themselves into the waste-paper basket. 

' Presently in came Mr. B , and blew and knocked 

out the ashes from his pipe : then told his partner where 
he could get the best tahle-d!h6te that day for a shilling, 
and took no notice of me. He seemed to me an intelligent 
man: he spoke with extraordinary facility and fluency 
German, English, French, Italian, and Spanish : he was 
also very &miliar with the language of humbugs and 
hypocrites. If pleased with you, he was ready to chat on 
all sorts of subjects, to curse the French and bless the 
Prussians, or the reverse, to talk of war, politics, and 
commerce. Whence he comes I know not ; but there is 
that in his eyes and nose and lips which makes me believe 

Education. 269 

he is an Israelite, — one of those whose home is the world, 
and to whom the Grentiles are for a prey. 

'When we got into conversation, to my surprise I 
learned that he knew of no situation which would suit me. 
** Do you play the piano ? " I said ** not." " What a pity, I 
have just the very place for you, but music is a requisite." 
Dear friend I should fate ever bring you to England, and 
pitch you into the hands of scholastic agents, say you 
know everything — can play the trombone and dance the 
bolero ; for that which a man knows is not wanted in 
English middle schools, but that which he does not know 
— ^that is what he is called upon, elected, to teach. 

' One day the agent sent me all the way to Halifax to 
have a personal interview with a schoolmaster wanting 
a foreign teacher, and when I got there I was asked if I 
could draw. When I said that this was not one of my 
accomplishments, *' I am very sorry," said the principal, 
^ but my situation is not for you." And I had to pay my 
railway fare for nothing. 

'The agent keeps a book of situations, copied from 
advertisements, or from applications made to him. He 
amuses the candidate with these, doled out once a fort- 
night. When the unfortunate man writes and sends 
his testimonials, or copies of them, he either gets no an- 
swer, not even his testimonials returned, or learns that 
the situation was filled up three months ago. I lost 
my original testimonials in this way. No writing and 
sending of postage stamps was of any avail, the school- 
master kept testimonials and stamps, and left me without 

'After having spent three months in London, I at 

last secured a mastership in a middle school at A <. I 

was not told by the agent that I was sent there only as 
a stop-gap, so I had to pay him thirty shillings, — 5 per 

270 Germany, Present and Past. 

cent, on the annual salary of 302., but as I was only wanted 
for three months, this was paying; at the rate of 20 per cent. 
The principal of the school was a man of little education 
himself, but he had a son who had been sent to Cambridge^ 
and was a clergyman. I did not see much of the latter. He 
was a curate somewhere ; but it was intended that he should 
continue his father's school. It was evening when I arrived 

at A . I was shown into the dining-room, just 

vacated by the pupils. The servant-maid offered me tea, 
and left me to await the head master. After a long^ 
journey I was given three wafers of bread-and-butter, all 
of which could have gone very well into this letter 
without making it overweight, and a cup of weak tea. I 
was very hungry, but there was nothing more to be got* 
After about half an hour in came the principal, made 
some remarks about the weather, and conducted me into a 
camera-obscura, where I found the whole body of teachers 
assembled. This dismal box served them as their common 
room — it was their study, parlour, barber's shop, place 
for gynmastics, in one. They did not associate with the 
head master and his family. His drawing-room was as in- 
accessible to them as the North Pole, or the throne-room at 
St. James's. I did not understand this cleavage at first : I 
did not then know that an usher in England is not supposed 
to be a man of respectability. He hangs suspended like 
Mahomet's coffin, between the clerk and the valet. He is 
not supposed to be trustworthy enough to be the former^ 
nimble enough to be the latter. The look of the maid and 
the way in which she thrust the wafers of bread-and-butter 
across the table to me had surprised me. There was na 
attempt at courtesy. It was evident she treated an usher as 
a privileged beggar. She was not to blame : she partook, I 
believe, of the universal opinion. In Germany we look up 
to the schoolmaster, in England they look down on him* 

Education. 271 

When I made the acquaintance of my fellow-teachers, I 
felt that the prejudice was not without foundation. 
There was not one of them who could be introduced into 
a gentleman's drawing-room. The second master had 
been a carpenter, but had &iled, and had taken up the 
scholastic profession. He was wholly self-taught. The 
other ushers were boys or old young men, with glossy coat- 
sleeyes, patched small-clothes, and very dirty linen. As 
I entered the room with the principal, one was engaged 
inking his stocking, where a hole in his boot revealed 


' There were in all four masters in this school, beside the 
second son of the principal, who taught drawing, and the 
daughter, who gave lessons on the piano. I received the 
highest salary. The carpenter received 251* per annum ; 
next came the son of a curate, aged 16, who received 202., 
and assisted the carpenter in taking Latin classes. The 
fourth usher was a poor wretch whose salary amounted to 15^. 
per annum, who taught reading, writing, and arithmetic. 
There were from fifty to sixty boarders in this collegiate 
mAiageiie, each paying on an average 402. per annum. 

^ The second master received me with urbanity. ^' Give 
us a flapper I " was his genial salutation. I was not then 
very proficient in my English, and his pronimciation some- 
what puzzled me. ^^ How is it that you call hobsb — oaa ? '' 
I once asked him in my eagerness to acquire knowledge. 
^ The A is harbitrary in Hinglish," he replied ; " you chuck 
it in or drop it promiscuous-like." The head master took 
the first class; he managed translations with a crib. 
Parsing was as unknown as prosody in that school. Yet it 
was entitled a ^^ collegiate school?" Just as the worst 
ale-houses with us bear the grandest signs, so in England 
the most abysmal educational establishments are collegiate 
schools and academies. I used to get swipes at the 

272 Germany, Present and Past 

** Kaiser-Krone," but excellent beer at the " Brown Bear,** 

when at , and I doubt not good substantial education 

may be got at a national school, but only the rinsings of 
the cask of knowledge at a collegiate establishment. The 
second master, the ci-devant joiner, managed translations 
and exercises, also, with cribs. The mode in which exer- 
cises in Latin and French were done was curious. The 
teacher copied the '^ thema " from the key on a blackboard, 
and the boys corrected their own exercises by this. If a boy 
had neglected to do his task, it mattered not, he trans- 
cribed it from the blackboard. Then the corrected exercises 
were copied clean into a blank book by each boy. During 
the last fortnight before the end of term the evenings 
were spent by the principal, the ex-carpenter, myself, and 
the rest of the ushers in doctoring the exercise-books into 
strictest accordance with the keys, and touching up the 
drawing-books, putting silver-paper between the scrawls, 
mending covers, erasing blots, disguising smudges, and 
giving the books an appearance of tidiness they did not 
naturally possess. 

^ The principal having ascertained that I corrected the 
French and German exercises independently of a key, 
took me to task. I explained that I was as familiar with 
both languages as he was with his native tongue, that there 
were various ways in which a sentence might be turned 
so as to be grammatical, and that very often the form 
given in the key weu3 not the best. 

' " That does not matter," he said ; " some of the parente 
of my pupils possess keys, and they look over their sons' 
copybooks with them, and if they find that the exercises 
differ from the printed book they charge me with ineffi- 
cient teaching." In one of the exercises, the key gave the 
translations wrongly spelled, by a printer's error, " sacre- 
future " for " sacrificateur ; " others had " cl^," which, if not 

Education. 273 

wrong is antiquated or unusual, for '< clef,'' and ^^ glace ** for 
^miroir." When doing up the exercise-books before the 
holidays, the head master obliged me to alter all the boys' 
exercises to accord with these blunders, though I pointed 
out to him that they were blunders, and showed him that 
they were with the dictionary. '^I don't care for that," he 
said ; ^'I have to consider the parents." 

' All the classes were held in one room. This, I be- 
lieve, is pretty general in England, but it is a great mis- 
take. The attention of the scholars is distracted. The 
din is often deafening. One thing is gained by the 
arrangement : the principal can keep his assistant masters 
under his eye ; and from my experience of assistant masters 
I think perhaps this is as well. 

^I left this school at Christmas, and did not get another 
for four months, though the agents continued supplying me 
with notices. Oh ! the numbers of letters and copies of 
my testimonials that I sent — all to no purpose. The next 

situation I got was at B , not far from London. This 

school was a ^ Commercial Academy." It did not pretend 
to prepare boys for the learned professions, but for businebs. 
Judging by the prospectus, it was ^go-ahead" in its 
adaptation to the wants of the nineteenth century, and 
supplied a crying want in the education of the country, 
was not bound by the old-world methods of medieval 
grammar-schools, but sought to develop the intelligences 
and sympathies of the scholars in accordance with the 
spirit of modem civilisation. 

* When I knocked at the door, the door was opened to 
me by a strange-looking wiry old fellow, with a red nose 
and a pair of cunning grey eyes. I asked after the prin- 
cipal. ^' I am he I " was the answer. It somewhat 
staggered me. This was hardly the J. Tomkins, Esquire, 
I had imagined. He looked as if he were more accustomed 

VOL. I. T 

274 Germany, Present and Past. 

to preying on his fellow-men than to enlightening them. 
Some men cany in their faces the fact that they are the 
parasites of social life. ^ Come along with me, Herr Pro* 
fessor,'' said he ; ^ we have just sat down to dinner." He 
conducted me down a steep flight of stairs into a subter- 
ranean chamber, where I found about a hundred boys and 
girls ranged on either side of tables, waiting impatiently 
for the word of command to fall to at a lump of cold beef, 
bread, and a yellow bowl heaped up with potatoes. The 
girls, I must explain, were the seven daughters of the 
principal. The cold beef was cut by the principal, his 
wife and eldest daughter, in thin slices; each boy was 
allowed two films, two potatoes, and a large hunch of bread* 
Water was provided in abundance. But in the strawberry 
season no meat was put on table. ^* Now boys,** said the 
principal, *' take each your hunch of bread and a piece of 
cheese, and go— revel in the strawberries I " Alas I day 
after day were the strawberry-beds hunted over, and every 
berry greedily eaten before it was ripe, but the results little 
lepayed the search. The strawberry season, when each boy 
managed to get a dozen fruit, saved the principal many 
a pound of meat. I was unable to satisfy the cravings of 
hunger whilst in that school with what was provided, and 
my Little savings went in ordinary bread. How the boys 
lived I cannot imagine. We were allowed two |^ieces of 
bread-and-butter for tea. Supper of bread and cheese I 
paid for. It was deducted from my salary of 30Z. 

' The boys in this school belonged to the middle class. 
There was, however, among the boarders one forlorn par- 
son's son, a delicate-looking lad, evidently better bred tiban 
the rest ; and also most impecunious. I used to give him 
crusts of my privately purchased loaves. There was some 
difficulty in getting his school-bills paid. «* But that don*t 
matter," said the principal ; « I like to keep a parson's son 

Education. 275 

in stock ; then I can use his father as a referee. He serves 
as a decoy dnck." The principal was a Scotchman* He 
had been half round the world in his time, and could speak, 
or pretended he could speak, French, German, Spanish, 
Portuguese, and Italian. He had been much in Chili and 
the Brazils, had opened a grog-shop at San Francisco, 
then had become a people's clothier somewhere in Wapping, 
and had at last dropped into the headship of this Commer- 
cial School, through his wife, I fancy. She was an heiress, 
and when her father died, the ancestral Do-the-boys' Hall 
fell to her and her husband. Thus the ez-sutler, grog- 
shop, sailors'-slops-dealer became a pedagogue — ^a guide 
and guardian of youth. His wife was bland and fat. He 
was a ciurious combination of a variety of characters. 
Underneath all lay Scottish canniness, then came a tinc- 
ture of Yankee smartness, and then a dash of nautical 
good-fellowship. There was also a strong flavour of re- 
ligiousness, but whether put on or ingrained I never could 
make out* It manifested itself in very long prayers be- 
fore and after school, and in a fierce hatred of Catholicism. 
I never found that his religion stood in the way of his 
interests. The boys were all marched to chapel, but when 
he thought there was some chance of his getting the 
grammar-school, the headship of which was vacant, and 
for which he was a candidate, the school migrated to the 
church ; when he did not get the post, they went back to 
chapel. The sanitary arrangements in the school were of 
the worst description. I was always obliged to sleep with 
my window open. The dormitory smelt like a sheep-pen. 
It was a wonder to me that fever did not break out in the 
school. Of one thing I am convinced ; if there had been 
any truth in what sanitary authorities proclaim, like 
Sennacherib's army in the English Bible, when we arose 
early in the morning we should have found ourselves all 


276 Germany y Present aftd Past. 

dead corpses. Men of science insist on so many cubic 
feet of air being necessary for man to inhale per hour, 
some dozen, I think. Why, these boys had for the eight 
hours of rest only about that number of superficial feet of 
atmospheric air, laid on as thin as the butter on their 
bread at breakfiaist. 

' There was no other salaried master in the school but 
myself. The elder daughters of the principal took the 
music and drawing. His two sons, still in their teens, 
came cheap as junior masters. Often have I seen them, 
as soon as they dismissed their class, settle themselves 
croBs^l^^ed on the desk, and set to work tailor-faishion 
putting patches into the seats or knees of their breeches, 
laid aside in the tutorial desk to be pulled out and mended 
at odd moments. 

* " We've one boy here who's a fust-rater at CFerman, 
speaks and writes like a Dutchman — I taught him," said 
the principal one day, and he brought me a G-erman letter 
composed by this paragon as a specimen of his powers* 
I begged and obtained leave to take a copy of it, and I 
enclose it.^ The studies generally were on a level with 
this. I wa£ engaged teaching during eight hours in the 
day. The rest of my time was taken up with looking 
after the boys at their play, or in school preparing lessons 
for the morrow. These boys were impressed with the 
idea that England was the noblest country in the world, 
also that everything English was admirable, and every- 
thing foreign barbarous, and that every foreigner should 
be treated with contumely. There was no civilising ele- 
ment in the school, nothing to elicit generosity of feeling, a 
love of truth, honour, and self-respect. Knowledge was held 
in no esteem ; the best boy — ^the cock of the school they 
called him — was he who could knock down eveiy other. 

* I have not thought it neoesaary to reprodaoe it. 

Education. 277 

A boy ranked according to his capability to give black 
eyes and bloody noses. The play of the pupils consisted in 
pitching stones at one another, in kicking one another*s 
shins, punching one another's heads, and pulling one 
another's hair out. The head boy had a board on which 
were glued specimens of the hair of every boy in the 
school, with their aut<^raphs beneath. It was his patent 
of nobility, his certificate of pre-eminence. Like an 
Indian chief he gloried in the scalps of his enemies ; he 
had nothing else in which he could glory. ^ That's what 
makes Englishmen invincible," said my principal, when 
I complained to him of the brutality of the pupib. **That 
won us Waterloo." I admit that our Gbrman boys are 
heavy, but they are not barbarous. I wish our boys had 
cricket and football, but not that they should use their 
arms as bats, and other boys' heads as balls. But they 
learned this barbarity in school hours. The amount of 
thrashing that went on in the eight hours' school astounded 
me ; it was like the monotonous cadence of a flail. In 
olden times, in England, on Ascension Day, lads were 
taken round the parish boundaries and whipped at fixed 
points. In after years, when those boys were men, they 
could swear to those boundaries in the event of a dispute. 
There are moral boimdaries as well as parochial ones, and 
these the English schoolmasters seek to impress on boys 
in a similar manner. A lesson thus impressed is deemed 
to entail no injurious effects. Nature has provided a 
portion of the body with a delicate network of sensitive 
nerves, and has withdrawn firom it all vital organs suscep- 
tible of injury ; this. Englishmen argue, is for the express 
V purpose of providing an organ for the reception of moral 
impressions, which it transmits to the heart, as the pupil of 
the eye conveys one sort of impression, and the drum of the 
ear conveys another sort, to the brain. That part 6i the 

278 Germany^ Present and Past. 

person which we in Germany hold in dishonour and con- 
temptuously sit upon is in England regarded as the organ 
of the moral sense. As waves of light flow in at the eye, 
and vibrations of sound at the ear, so do moral ideas pul- 
sate to the soul through that member, the medium of 
pulsation being a cane. 

* I am no advocate for the complete abolition of cor- 
poral punishment. Nothing but a stick will make a 
donkey go. But incessant and indiscriminate beating 
demoralises, brutalises, hardens. At least that is the 
result I reaped from observations at B . 

^ But let me return to the teaching in these middle 
schools. I have now been in a good number of them, and 
though I admit that some are under better discipline than 
others, the boys better fed and better instructed, yet I am 
satisfied that the education given is in none systematic, 
and educative of the best powers in a boy's mind and cha- 

'I was much interested one day with observing a 
painter engaged on adorning a deal chimney-piece in my 
principal's hall of reception. He daubed the deal all over 
grey. Then he dipped his brush in black, and with a 
stick bent back the hairs of the implement, and let them 
spring forward suddenly to their natural position, sending 
a shower of inky dabs over the grey paint. Then he re- 
peated the process with his brush chaiged with pink, and 
next with yellow. I asked the artist what he was doing. 
He replied that he was marbleing the chimney-piece. 
Well I that was just the principle of the education in this 
establishment — I fear, in most middle schools in England* 
Of education, the moulding and bracing and broadening 
of the mind, as we understand it in Germany, they know 
nothing in England. They are a century behind us in 
their grammar-schools, and the middle schools are still 

Education. 279 

sunk in larbarism. The education of youth consists in this 
— first reducing the minds to a dull^ dead, monotonous tint 
of indifference and intellectual paralysis, and then spurting 
over them a spray of disjointed facts ; some stick, many 
are lost, but it matters not — ^all are worthless, and the 
result is a vulgar blotch. What a wondrous operation is 
that conducted by the herb of the field I Its roots gather 
3nd select ingredients firom the soil, assimilate them, 
transubstantiate them, and reproduce them in flower and 
fruit. That is the principle of G-erman education; it 
accumulates material about the intellectual root-fibres of 
the child, and teaches him to choose among them, imbibe 
them, transform them, and utilise them. Education, 
then, is but the facilitation of a natural process. In Eng- 
land it is the reverse ; it is not vegetative, but petrifying. 
It kills the intellect, and allows only the memory to live 
as an adhesive substance, in which splashes and spray of 
undigested, unconnected facts may be retained. They are 
retained — mechanically. 

' I had acquaintances in England, among English gen- 
tlemen of position and influence, having brought with me 

letters of introduction from Count and Baron , 

but I did not like to apply to them for recommendation 
till I had tasted the dregs of degradation in these vile 
schools. I will not weary you with details of others in 
which I spent some six or even twelve months. I tried 
them in all parts of England, and found them all much of 
a muchness. At last I entreated some of my English 
friends, whose names are pretty well known, to write for 
me. I found at once that the fact of my having influential 
English friends excluded me from these middle schools. 
Not a principal dare have me in his house. He feared 
lest the abuses of his system should be dragged to light. 
If I sent such a recommendation I got an answer by return 

28o Germany, Present and Past, 

of post that the situation ^as filled. But, as I found out 
on inquiry, this was not the case. It was filled only with 
a haunting fear lest the iniquities of the school should be 
discovered by my means. By the assistance of my English 
friends I now got into a higher sphere — into endowed 
grammarHBchools, not lodging in the school, but in the 
town, and going to the school to give my lessons. I ani 
thus less able to speak of the system of education carried 
on in endowed grammar-schools. They are, most cer- 
tainly, free from the abuses which prevail in private 
schools, but, as far as I can judge, they are not carried 
on upon anything approaching the scientific system to 
which we are accustomed in Germany. Their great defect 
is this : the reason is not trained ; all effort is devoted to 
the storing of the memoty, as if the great object of life 
was to Bemember, not to Think. I believe this is the 
reason why the English mind is not philosophic, but 

^ A baleful influence on education in England has been 
exerted by competitive examinations. To get into the 
army, the navy, the civil service, the Church, a man must 
pass an examination. There are so many vacancies, and 
three times the number of candidates. A public exami- 
nation is held, and the presiunably best men are chosen* 
But this examination does not answer the purpose intended* 
It does not sift the inferior men from the good. It does 
not provide the army, the navy, the civil service, &c., with 
the men of best mental calibre, but the men best crammed 
for the examination. Those who are destined for the 
public service are trained to pass these examinations, not 
to be intelligent men. You have seen about Strassburg 
the geese being fattened for their livers. A piece of wood 
perforated in the middle is put as a gag across their bills^ 
and then grains of Indian com are run in through a funnel^ 

Education. 28 1 

the nozzle of which fits the perforation in the gag. When 
the goose has had enough, it hecomes uncomfortable and 
r^tive ; then the operator removes the funnel, inserts a 
sort of ramrod, and crushes the grains together in the 
paunch of the creature. Then he dribbles in a few more 
grains, and rams again, till the goose cannot waddle* 
This is a picture of English education for the public service. 
The memory is the stomach of the mind. All that is 
sought is to load and overload it with facts. Now let me 
give you a picture of a competitive examination. I had a 
dear friend at Heidelberg, a Herr Schneider, who belonged 
to the same ^^ Verein " as myself. One day — ^it was pre- 
cisely the day of our annual supper — ^he was ill with in- 
flammation of the lungs. He was, however, resolved to 
attend the supper, so he went to an apothecary and pur* 
chased two bottles, one of croton oil for external applica* 
tion, the other of syrup for the comforting of the inner 
mucous membrane. Armed with these, he returned to his 
lodgings, deposited them near his bed, drew on his top- 
boots, buckled on his sash, and went off to the supper. 
Late at night he returned to his lodging, cheerful but 
coughing, and with cheeks and nose as fiery as his tonsils 
and uvula. Before he tumbled into bed he hastily drank 
off one bottle of medicine, and was about to rub his chest 
with the other, when he was aware suddenly that he had 
imbibed the croton oil instead of the syrup. In an agony 
of fear he called up a neighbouring student and sent him 
for a doctor. When the doctor heard what had happened, 
he said sadly : ^' Schneider is a dead man." However, he 
took his stomach pump and went to see him. Herr 
Schneider was seated motionless in an armchair, blank in 
face, and gaping like a young pheasant with the pip. 
The medical man at once let the tube of his pump down 
his throat, worked with a wiU, and brought up the entire 

282 Germany^ Present and Past. 

supper ; with it — ^last, not least, as a lump of soap in the 
midst of the mass, the dose of croton oil. The croton oil 
had lodged in the supper, and had not touched the coats 
of the stomach, cut off from them by the supper. Schneider 
was saved I Imagine, my friend, a hundred abject wretches 
seated in a row down a long hall, on hard bendies, each 
with a syphon down his throat, and a public examiner 
pumping out his contents, and you get some idea of an 
English examination for a Grovemment ofiBce. But this is 
not alL The evacuations of these unfortunates are ar- 
ranged and compared, and those who prove to have held 
most in quantity and most indigestible in substance are 
chosen to serve their country. A man who mentally had 
performed Herr Schneiders feat, and could bring up a 
clot of croton oil^ would pass triumphantly, and bethought 
to have deserved well of his country.' 

I must now leave my lively contributor's experiences 
and criticisms of English education to speak of that which 
prevails in Grermany. I do not pretend to do more than 
sketch this very lightly. So much has been written al- 
ready on the subject that is accessible to every reader, 
that I do not think it necessary to re-tell a thrice-told tale, 
at all events, not to enter into its particulars. 

In the Prussian Constitution of 1850 stands the fol- 
lowing provision : — 

' Every one is free to impart knowledge, and to found 
and conduct establishments for instruction, when he has 
proved to the satisfaction of the proper State authorities 
that he has the moral, scientific, and technical qualifications 
that are requisite. All public and private establishments 
are under the supervision of authorities named by the 

That is to say, the education of .the country is taken, 
like the post-office and the railways, into the hands of the 

Education. 283 

State. The State will gaaiantee to the country that no 
man unqualified shall physic their bodies or educate their 
minds ; it supervises the butchers' shops, that no diseased 
meat shall be sold, and the schools, that no unwholesome 
teaching shall he imparted* It is quite a mistake to sup- 
pose that Germans regard this as an exercise of a despotic 
authority on the part of the Crovemment ; they are thank- 
ful for it as a protection. I do not suppose that Londoners 
resent interference by the authorities with the dilution of 
milk with fever-infected water, and its adulteration with 
ehalk and horsebrain. It is a nuisance to have to try 
your milk every morning with a lactometer, and the parent 
ought to be grateful not to be obliged to dip a lactometer 
daily in the instruction given to his sons. Germany is 
divided up into Bezirke — circles, each containing from 
six to twenty or thirty parishes. On entering a village 
the first object that strikes the traveller's eye is a board, 
on which is painted, first, the name of the village, second, 
the name of the Bezirk to which it belongs. The Bezirk, 
the smallest State division, is controlled by a civil officer, 
eaUed a Landrath. Associated with the Landrath is a school- 
superintendent. Each parish has one elementary school or 
more, according to its requirements. 

In order to bring the youth to these schools, education 
is made compulsory. Every child, male and female, from 
the age of six to fourteen, is obliged to attend school. 
£egular attendance at school is enforced, if necessary, by 
the police. The police-office of every village makes out a 
list of all children of school-^e, and hands it in to the 
local School Board connected with each school, which is 
then responsible for the children's attendance. The 
teacher keeps a list of absentees, marking those who are 
absent without reasonable excuse. This list he passes to 
the Board, which proceeds to admonish the parent, and if 

284 Germany^ Present and Past 

admonition proves ineffective, the parent is fined or sent 
to jail. In Saxony the number of compulsory years is 
eight, and every day missed during those eight years has 
to be made up afterwards ; and this plan has been found 
to answer admirably. The usual hours of school are firom. 
eight o'clock till noon, and from two o'clock till four in the 
afternoon. The education given in these primary schools 
is of the most elementary condition. The general division 
of subjects during the week is this : — religion, six hours ; 
reading and writing, twelve hours ; ciphering, five hours ; 
and singing, three hours. Nothing can be simpler or more 
practical ; every incentive to the exhibition of superficial 
accomplishments is taken away. There are examinations, 
but they are not converted into opportunities of tormenting 
and puzzling the children, and stimulating the teachers to 
pretentiousness and hoUowne^s. Mr. Pattison, in his Report 
on the Prussian schools in 1861, says of them, ' They may 
aim at little, but the principle is to achieve it. It may 
look, too, like the cultivation of the imagination, but it is 
possessed of a practical spirit which permits of no showing 
off.' The instruction is kept down to what is purely 
elementary, but that is required to be most thorough. The 
masters for these schools are provided from coUegeSy' 
Government establishments, where they are trained. The 
cost of board is very trifling ; and as the students do all 
their own serving except cooking, the whole expense is 
little more than the cost of their food. The instruction is 
distributed over three years. At the end of this period^ 
the student is examined ; if he passes he becomes a ^Wilder,' 
a wild man, and goes for three years as assistant in a large 
school, where he may learn the practical application of his 
knowledge. When this three years' probation has elapsed, 
the teacher is competent to take a parish school himself 
His position is then one of respectability. The pastor, the 

Education. 285 

schoolmaster, and the apothecary are the magnates and 
authorities of the village. Almost everywhere — I have not 
met with an exception — the village schoolmaster is a 
person it is a pleasure and profit to associate with. He is 
intelligent, well read, and full of interest in political and 
social questions, and always ready to impart local informa- 
tion on antiquarian and historical subjects, or matters of 
natural history. 

Now let us pass to the higher schools. Of these there 
are two types, the classical and the commercial. 

The classical schools are the 'Progymnasium' and the 
^ Gynmasium,' leading directly to the university and to 
the learned professions. The commercial schools are the 
Upper Biirger-Schule ' and the ^ fieal-Schule ' leading to 

The G-ymnasium has six classes, not numbered, as oiurs, 
from below, but from above : a sixth-form boy is not in 
Germany at the head, but at the tail of his school. 

It is hardly necessary to describe the ^ Progymnasium,' 
which is only a preparatory school for the other, and which 
is modelled on its type. In the Gymnasium the pupils in 
every class but the lowest get thirty hours' schooling at 
least in the week, those in the lowest get twenty-eight. 
There is one half-holiday, which is in the middle of the 
week. The first, second, and third classes are usually 
divided into upper first and lower first, and so on. 

The table on next page gives the prospectus of hours 
and studies. 

The school hours are in the morning from seven to 
about eleven in summer, from eight to about twelve in 
winter ; in the afternoon they are from two to four all the 
year round. Where there is not in the same town a fieal- 
Schule, pupils at the Gymnasium are allowed to substitute 
English, or some other subject for Greek. But in the 


Germany, Present and Past. 

Plan tf Studies in tlie Oymnatium, 

















la Total 

1. Religion .... 

2. Writing .... 

3. Drawing . , . . 

4. Crerman .... 






6. Geography and History . 
6. Mathematics 














7. Natural Science • 











8. French .... 










9. Greek .... 











10. Latin .... 











"•{! m^-^^ 







Total . 





Gymnasuim as in the Beal-Schule, there is no attempt 
made at special training for a particular profession. This 
is strictly prohibited. The object of the education is ta 
broaden the mind, and all specialisation, if undertaken 
before a broad basis be laid permanently, dwarfs the mind. 
There are colleges and faculties in the universities for 
special studies, but these must be entered on after a general 
and solid basis of culture has been laid.' 

Of Real-Schulen there are several kinds. That with 
nme classes is the Eeal-Schule par excdleace. That with 
six classes is usually called the Upper Biirger-Schule. 
There are also Beal-Grymnasia, where Latin and Greek are 
taught. In the Beal-Schulen Latin is taught, but chiefly 
in the lower classes. Li the first it is given the minimum 
of time, three hours in the week ; and in this class, and in 
the second, the time devoted to mathematics and the 

> The ooflt of education in the lowest class in the Gymnasium is 
forty-four shillings a year ; in the higher classes (lY. and V.) fifty-four 
shillings ; in the highest (I., IL, m.) sixty-four shillings. The en- 
trance fee is four shillings. 



natural sciences amounts together to eleven hours a week. 
French has most time allotted to it, and English becomes 
a part of the curriculum of studj. Drawing also assumes 
an importance not allowed it in the Oynmasium. 

Plan ef Studies in the Hdhre . 





















1. Beligion . • • • 

2. Gorman Language 

3. Ii^nch ,y • • 


4. English ^ • • 

6. Geography • . • . 
6w History .... 

7. Mafchematics • 












8. Geometry .... 

9. Geometrical Drawing orl 

Descriptive GJeometryj * 
ID. Physics and Natural History 

11. Chemistry . • » • 

12. Drawing .... 

13. Singing .... 

14. Athletics • • . . 






















16. Writing .... 








Total • 


The first class is divided into Upper (b) and Lower (a). 

C3as8 1 oonsiBtB of boys of from 11 to 12 years. The 
second class is similarly divided, and contains boys of from 
12 to 13. 

The third class, also divided in like manner, comprises 
boys from 13 to 14 ; the fourth class, imdivided, is filled 
with boys of from. 14 to 15 ; the fifth class with boys of 
from 15 to 16; and the sixth class with boys of from 16 
to 18. 

The school year begins on September 30. 

The annual cost of education in the Upper Biirger- 
Schule is, — ^in the lowest class a guinea x in the fifth, 
fourth, and third classes thirty-one shillings ; and in the 

288 Germany, Present and Past. 

two upper classes forty-two shillings. There is also an 
entrance fee of two to three shillings.^ For this price a 
really first-rate education can be had. The teachers are 
all thoroughly approved men of learning and abilities. 

English or other foreign boys are admitted to these 
German schools as ^ guests.' That is, they attend school 
for half the day; they are allowed to attend the class 
lessons and lectures, — they can/ if they like, remain the 
whole day, but this is hardly advisable at first. These 
pupils become gradually accustomed to hearing German, 
and become familiarised with the words and pronunciation. 
Later, they are asked questions with the class. This is a 
most admirable plan, when combined with private lessons 
at home. But it does not answer to send English boys to 
a GFerman school. Gymnasium or Beal-Schule, entirely, 
till they are thoroughly familiar with the language. One 
thing English boys have to learn, which is to them a 
difficult acquisition, and that is, — to sit still and give their 
whole attention to what is before them. If they do not, 
they are turned out of the school with very little cere- 

An English officer writes to me : ' My eldest boy went 
to the Upper Biirger-Schule here, at the age of fourteen, 
when I first came here. He is a quiet attentive lad, who 
makes use of his wits. I paid for him first forty shillings 
yearly, and then, when he got into the highest class, fifty- 
two shillings yearly. Before he was seventeen years of 
age he had passed Into Woolwich, and passed ninth, being 
first in some subjects ; and I believe he would have topped 
the whol< 'o he hat^ been un .'n classics, but at the 

» This la iIk' ]»rice for Upper Burner- Schulen in Baden, at Karls- 
ruhe, Pfortzhcim. .icidelberg, Freiburg. It is much the aame every- 
where else. The payment is quarterly. If pupils come out of a 
preparatory ichool, there is no entrance fee paid. Guests pay a little 

Education. 289 

BuTger-Schule he had not the opportunity of working 
on at them, and his Latin had been neglected since he 
left England. I attribute his success entirely to his work 
at the Biirger-Schule, and the excellence of the education 
there given.' 

The education of girls has been also vigorously taken in 
hand in Germany, but is not as thoroughly systematised 
as that of boys. There are still a vast number of private 
schools, many most excellent, none thoroughly bad, or they 
would be put down by G-ovemment. In all these the 
education is moderate in cost. I sent my children under 
nine to a school conducted by a lady of rank, and paid for 
them one shilling each per month. A girl may obtain a 
thoroughly sound and superior education for seven pounds 
a year. But, in addition to the private schools are the 
public Hohre Tochter-Schulen, conducted under the 
auspices of the town. In Baden, the Government has 
I drawn up a scheme of education for the upper girls' schools, 
and this is followed in all the establishments provided 
in the towns by the Council. (See table on next page.) 

The education of girls is now a matter of so much 
interest in England, that I shall make no apology for 
giving a fuller programme of the work of the different 
•classes in one of these Upper Tochter-Schulen for the year 
1877-8.' In some there are seven classes only. 

10th. class. (PIBST tear at school. AGS, SIX.) 

Beiigion. — A. {Catholic): In summer, learning of 
daily prayers ; in winter, learning of principal Christian 
verities put into verse. B. (ProteatarU): Bible stories; 
learning by heart of moral sentences. 

Oerman. — Beading and spelling and writing letters. 

> I do not give partlcalan of all snbjeots, as unneoeaaary. 
VOL. I. U 


Germany^ Present and Past. 

Plan of Studies nf the Upper Tdehter-Sekule. 













1. Religion 






2. German ^ 
Language J 

/ 9 wint. 












3. Object-lessons 

/ 8 wint. 
1 28am. 






— — 




4. Mathematics 

r 6 wint. 








2 2 



6. Singing 









2 ; 2 


6. Writing 









_^_ 1 ^___ 



7. Handwork . 









2 2 



8. French. 



— . 






7 7 



9. Geography . 









1 — 



10. Natural 

History . 









2 2 



11. Athletics . 







2 2 


12. Drawing 








2 2 



13. History 








2 2 



14. English 

















Total . 

20 wint. 




16 sam. 



Object4e88on. — ^The school-room ; the house and sit- 
ting-room; the cat, the dog, the goose, the ass, &xi,y 
with anecdotes. 

Arithmetic. — Simple arithmetic and use of counter- 

Singing. — Simple songs by ear. 

9th glass, (secoio) teab at school.) 

Religion. — A. {Catholic) : In summer, Bible histoiy 
from Creation to Flood; in winter, the Grospel story* 
B. {Protestcmt) : Selected narratives from the Bible» 
Moral sentences and three hymns. 

Oermcm. — Reading, writing, spelling, and dictation. 

AriOimetic — ^Addition, subtraction, and multiplicatioa 


Education. 291 

Object-lesson. — ^In summer, plants and trees; in 
winter, animals. 

HcmdworJc — Knitting and purling. 

8th glass, (thisd tkab at school.) 

Religion. — A. {Catholic): Small Catechism. In 
summer, the doctrine of Creation ; in winter, the doctrine 
of Redemption, and the Ten Commandments committed to 
memory. The Bible history to the end of the story of 
Joseph. B. {Protestant) : Selected stories from the Old 
and New Testaments. Moral sentences and four hymns 
learned by heart. 

Oermcm. — 1st Beading Book. Simple grammar. 

AriUimetic. — Counting up to 1,000, then to 100,000, 
and simple sums. 

0bject4essons. — Knowledge of the plan of the town, 
and historical associations with the different parts and 
buildings ; knowledge of the district round, and the height 
of the hills and course of the streams. 

Hcmdwork. — Stocking-knitting. 

7th class, (foubth tear at school.) 

Reliffion. — ^A. {Catholic): Second Catechism. In 
summer, the first articles of the Creed, and doctrine of the 
Angeb ; in winter, the Creed to the eighth article. In 
smnmer, Bible history of the infancy of Jesus ; in winter, 
Bible history of the Passion. After Christmas, instruction 
on contrition for Sin. B. {Protesta/rU) : Old Testament 
history of Patriarchs. The Parables. Two hynms, and 
sent^ices from the Catechism. 

Oermcm. — 2nd Beading Book. Ten pieces of poetry 
committed to memory. Grammar. 

French. — Easy translation. 



292 Germany^ Present and Past. 

Arithmetic. — Compound sums ; weights and measm^s 

Oeography. — ^The immediate neighbourhood, district, 
and province, in their natural and political divisions. 

Natural History. — In summer, description of the 
plants in the neighbourhood ; in winter, animals of all 

Music. — Beginning scales and notes ; unison singing. 

AOdetice. — ^Drill, marching, also exercise of muscles, 
arms, legs, and spine. 

Handwork. — Knitting of stocking-feet. 

6th class, (fifth tbab at school.) 

Religion. — A. (Catholic): Second Catechism. In 
summer, the doctrine of Grrace, of Baptism and Holy 
Unction ; in winter, the Commandments. Old Testament 
history to the entrance into the Promised Land. B. (Pro- 
testant) : Old Testament history to the division of the 
kingdom. Longer moral sentences. The doctrine of Prayer, 
and the Lord's Prayer. Four hymns, with biographies of 
their composers. 

Oerman. — 3rd Reading Book. Twenty poems com- 
mitted to memory. Lessons in punctuation and gram- 
matical construction. Composition (anecdotes and de- 

French. — ^Grammar and translation. Auxiliaries a/oovr 
and tire. 

A rithmetio. — Compound sums in mental arithmetic, Ac 

(jMffiHtphy. — Europe ; elementary general geography. 

Natural Uietory. — ^In summer, botany; plants of 
Qarmuny 1 In winter, mineralogy, minerals and rocks of 
nol|fliUnirhood, and of the province. 

Dtawiixg — Blementary. 

Education. 293 

Svnging, — Two-part songs. 
HamjdnjDork. — Crochet, marking, cross-stitch. 
Athletics. — Drill, various exercises for developing the 
xnnsdes and making the lixnbs flexible. 

5th class, (sixth teab at school.) 

Religion. — Catholic and Protestant, with the 6th class. 

Oerman. — Composition, pr^is, sixteen poems com* 
ndtted to memory. 

French. — The four regular conjugations, short stories.* 

Arithmetic. — Decimals. 

Oeagraphy. — The Oerman Empire. 

History. — Elementary general ancient. 

Natural History. — In summer, botany — structure of 
plants. In winter, zoology. 

Dranvvng. — Foliage (architectural), and curves. 

Svagvng. — Four-part songs. 

HandAJOork. — Fancy knitting for stockings, &c. 

4th class, (seventh teab at school.) 

Beligion. — A. (Catholic) : Great Catechism. In sum- 
mer, the doctrine of Faith, and of the Church ; in winter, 
the doctrine of Grace and of the Sacraments ; the life of 
Christ — especially the Ministry and Passion. B. (PrO' 
testcmt) : Catechism (Ist and 2nd parts), the travels of 
St. Paul, history of Protestant hymnody. 

Oerman. — Composition of letters, stories, and descrip- 

Arithmetic. — ^Discount, Per-centage, &c. 

Geography. — Mountain and river systems, the coun- 
tries and capitals of Europe. 

> It is unnecessary to give the particnlais of the advance in the 
cunicnlnm of French, in the upper classes. 

294 Germany^ Present and Past. 

History. — G-eiman history to 1815. 

Ncdm/ral History* — ^Botany, scientific, the feuaiilies and 
groups of plants; zoology, scientific, the fsunilies and 
groups of animals. 

Drawi/ag. — Leaf and flower drawing. 

Handwork. — Crochet of various sorts, lace-making. 

3bd glass, (bighth teab at school.) 

.ReZ^grion.— -Catholic and Protestant with the fourth 

German. — ^Prosody, lectures on the Ballads of SchiUer, 
Croethe, and Uhland; ^Wilhelm Tell;' composition, busi- 
ness letters. 

Arithmetic. — Book-keeping, land-surveying. 

Geography. — Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and 

History. — Greek and Boman, Grerman 'Sagen' and 

NaturaZ History. — Progressive from what was begun 
in Class 4. 

Drawi/ng. — Boughs, landscapes, fruit and flowers. 

Hand/work. — Needlework, various stitches, making of 
table, bed, and body Unen. 

2nd class, (ninth tbab at school.) 

Religion.'^A. (Caiholic) : Church history from the Be- 
formation to the present time. B. {ProteetaTvt) : The 
OoHpel of St. John, and Epistles ; the history of Protes- 
tantism from the seventeenth century to the present 

Oerm^m. — History of Grerman literature, the Nibe- 
lungenlied and Gudrunlied ; poems of Walther v. Eschen- 
bach, composition of essays. 

Education. 295 

McUhematica. — ^Plane geometry, extraction of square 
and cube roots. 

Oeography. — Physical geography, the celestial chart. 

History. — Crerman history to 1500, specially with re- 
ference to culture. 

Physics. — Inductive reasoning, the structure of the 
human body, the law of gravitation, magnetism, electricity, 
the law of heat, &c. 

Dravrmg. — Landscapes, beginning of heads. 

HcmdAJoork. — ^Needlework ; cutting out and sowing of 
linen for females, point-lace, embroidery stitches. 

1st glass, b. (tenth tear at school.) 

Rddgian. — ^Gatholic and Protestant with the second 

Oerma/n. — History of literature, history of Europe from 
1500 to 1748, with biographies of the most eminent men 
in that period : Klopstock, ' Messiah; ' Lessing, ^Miima von 
Bamhelm' and ' Nathan ; ' Goethe, * Iphigenia,' ' Hermann 
und Dorothea ; ' Schiller, principal poems, ^ Wallenstein ; ' 
the other classic writers, and the tendencies of their works ; 
composition, pr^is, and descriptions of character. 

Mathematica. — Continuation of studies in the ninth 

History. — Greneral European histoiy since 1500. 

Physics. — Continuation of studies in the ninth class. 

Ha/ndwork. — ^Needlework, cutting out and sowing of 
men's and women's linen, point-lace, and various lace 

IsT class, a.^ 

Oerman. — ^History of modem literature, Goethe's 
< TasBo.' 

I This dass is for girls of seventeen to nineteen, who after finishing 

296 Germanyy Present and Past. 

French, — ^History of French literature. 

English. — Shakspeare, Walter Scott^ selections from. 
Charles Dickens. 

History. — Greek and Soman history, with special re- 
ference to literature and art, history of architecture and 

Natural History. — The morpholep of plants, com- 
parative anatomy. 

Physics. — Correlation of physical sciences. 

The school-year begins on May 1. In the three lowest 
classes the payment is 248. a year, in the 7th to the 4th 
is 368., and in the superior classes 488. There is also an 
entrance fee of 2s. 

For a really trifling sum a first-class education for 
boys and girls may be had in Germany — an education, the 
like of which for completeness is not to be got in England* 
Many English parents are finding this out, and are migrat- 
ing to Germany to avail themselves of this great privilege. 
This, of course, the wealthy can do ; but not those who 
are tied down by their business. They must send their 
children to inferior English establishments, where for a 
third-rate education they pay an exorbitant price. A 
German schoolmaster, who had English boys under him as 
well as those of his own nation, said to me : ' I cannot un- 
derstand English boys. They play at their work, and they 
work at their play.' This is a true remark. As a genersd 
rule they do not take interest in their lessons, and they do 
take a lively, vigorous, exhausting interest in cricket and foot- 
ball German boys have no public games. All their energies 
are used up in their studies. They take no violent exer- 

the regular course wish to continue their studies. They get only 
twelve hours a week instead of thirty as in the previous year, as they 
Me supposed to have less time for study, their domestic and social duties 
demanding the major part of their time. 

Education. 297 

else except on the ice in winter. School-work is exhaust- 
ing, and it takes all their energies out of them. In it 
they do take an interest. And the reason — or one prin- 
cipal reason — why they do, is because from early child- 
liood it is impressed on them that their whole future 
depends on it. The Abiturienten-Examen is the day of 
judgment looming before the children's eyes, and their 
childish life is a solemn march to that Dies vrce. At the 
close of youth, before entering on manhood, comes the 
terrible day which irrevocably fixes their £Bite. Unless 
they issue from that examination with a testimonial of 
* ripeness,' every learned profession is closed to them, and 
three years' military drill instead of one is their doom. 
As the boy goes to school, he passes the barrack-yard or 
the Platz where the recruits are drilling. He sees them 
posturing, goose-stepping, tumbling, fencing, marching in 
mud or snow ; and he thinks ' I shall have three years of 
this unless I work I ' and it acts as a daily stimulus to 

But this is not all. The German masters have the 
knack — the art, rather, for it is the result of experience 
and study — of making their teaching interesting to their 
pupils. The system is simply'this — the development of 
the reasoning powers in the boy. This is the great aim 
of German education, to make thinking men ; there is 
no effort made to store the mind with a multitude of 
fjEicts, but there is every effort made to train the mind to 
build something out of any number of facts tossed capri- 
ciously before it — to teach it to analyse, compare, and 
classify them. 

This is the theory of education of boys. It is not 
carried out as a system in the private girls'-schools ; it is 
probably not as advisable. Accuracy of detail is perhaps 
more necessary in girls than broad principles. The 

298 Germany y Present and Past 

memory deserves among them cultiyation rather than the 

The examination of boys leaving school — ^the examini^ 
tion which determines whether they shall serve three 
years or one in the army, whether they shall enter the 
army, be schoolmasters, pastors, lawyers, physicians, &c. — 
is held about three weeks before the close of the half-year. 
The examining body is composed of the director of the 
gynmasimn, and the professors who teach the first dass, 
a representative of the School Guratorium, the Govern- 
ment Commissioners, and a member of the Provincial 
Board* The AbUurientj or leaving boy, must have spent 
two years in the head form. He is examined in subjects 
on the same level as the teaching in this form, but he 
must not be examined in books and authors he has 
worked at in his class, and special care is taken to avoid 
< cram ' qualifying for passing. He is examined generally 
in his mother tongue, Latin, Greek, French, mathematics 
and physics, geography, history, and divinity. Every 
effort is made to test the intelligence rather than the 
knowledge of the Abiturient. The paper work lasts a 
week, and then comes viva voce. Each performance is 
marked msuffieientj suffiderUy good, or excellent, and 
no other terms and no qualifications of these are allowed. 

It will be seen from what has been said, how studiously 
the Germans avoid doing that which we, English, by our 
competitive examinations, labour to do. ^ So well do 
the Prussian authorities,' says Mr. M. Arnold, 'know 
how insufficient for their object — that of promoting 
the national culture and filling the professions with fit 
men — is the bare examination test ; so averse are they to 
cram; so clearly do they perceive that what forms 
a youth, and what he should in all ways be induced to 
acquire, is the orderly development of his faculties under 

Edtuaiion, 299 

£ood and trained teaching. With this view all the 
instmctions for the examination are drawn up. It is to 
tempt candidates to no special preparation and effort, but 
to be such as a scholar of fair ability and proper diligence 
may at the end of his school course come to with a quiet 
mind, and without a painful preparatory effort, tending 
to relaxation and torpor as soon as the effort is over.' 

Admirable as the German system of education is, I 
•cannot but believe that too much mental work is exacted 
of the bop. The school hours are too long: at least 
seven hours in the day, and if, as is frequently the case, 
the pupils take up an extra subject, eight. To this must 
be added two hours in the evening of preparatory work for 
the morrow ; this makes nine or ten hours a day at their 
books. As a natural consequence, they have no will or 
•energy for physical exertion. Dr. Adolf Boginsky, in an 
article in the 'Deutsche Medicin. Wochenschrift ' for 
February 1, 1877, states as imdeniable that the present 
system of education in Germany is producing three serious 
results. In the first place, children are becoming 
annually and in greater numbers more shortr-sighted ; 
secondly, their physical health deteriorates ; and, thirdly, 
the propagation of infection is encouraged. Into the 
third objection I will not enter, as to some extent inevit- 
able. The other two demand more attention. 

Short-sightedness is unquestionably on the increase, 
and is already interfering with the efficiency of recruits 
for the army. Dr. Boginsky attributes it to the use of 
slates. These get smudged, and the eyes are strained to 
decipher what is written on them. But this is not the 
only cause. In 1876 a Breslau physician published some 
interesting observations on the subject of defective vision. 
Short-sightedness, and sometimes entire loss of sight, 
seems to be one of the all but inevitable accompaniments 

300 Germany^ Present afid Past. 

of the dangerous art of reading. The unlettered peasant 
has almost always good eyes, and out of one hundred 
Silesian boors only two could be found whose sight was 
not in perfect condition. These dear-visioned labourers 
had naturally lived much in the open air ; and though it 
is to be presumed that, in accordance with the law of 
compulsory education, they must all have been to school, 
they had somehow succeeded in not learning to read. 
Out of 10,000 school-children of the age of fourteen, on 
the other hand, it appeared that no fewer than 1,004 had 
suffered in sight, and were obliged either to use glasses or 
to abstain altogether from books ; while of persons above 
the age of fourteen, whose eyes had been trained to ^read 
small and other print, no iewer than 63 per cent, were 
either short-sighted or in a greater or less degree unable 
to see. Of school-children under the age of six, 5 per 
cent, had already suffered in their eyes ; up to the age of 
eleven, 11 per cent, had been so affected ; while the per- 
centage rose to 19 per cent, at the age of thirteen ; to 26 
per cent, at the age of eighteen, and to 43 per cent, at 
that of twenty-one. Very few persons, it seems, are bom 
with defective vision, and the figures above cited show 
that the injury done to the eyes by poring over * miserable 
books ' is progressive from infancy to mature age. 

A child's eyes, like its vocal organs and its fingers, are 
naturally capable of a great deal. In the pipe of the 
child are all the tones of every human language ; and any 
infant could be educated to pronounce German gutturals, 
French nasals, or Hottentot lingual clicks. All notes 
are there m poase^ but education restrains, rigidifies the 
organ of voice, and forms it into an instrument for the 
pronunciation of only a certain class of sounds. Up to 
fifteen a child can learn to pronounce any language. At 
that age its power of phonetic modulation is curtailed. 

Education. 301 

and a language may be learned after that period, but 
never be pronounced properly. A child's fingers are 
capable of the most varied and rapid movements. If we 
take advantage of this flexibility and keep it up, it will 
become a skilful pianist; n^lect it, and the muscles 
rigidify, and after fifteen it will be useless to teach it to 
play the piano. A child's eyes are capable of being 
focussed on objects remote or near. But if the child be 
taken, and for ten hours in the day be made to focus its 
eyes on tiny characters six inches off its nose, and this 
process be prolonged for twelve or fifteen years, then the 
eye is educated to short-sightedness. It is not given time 
for exercise in focussing itself on distant objects. A child 
xiaturally uses its left hand as readily as its right ; we 
discipline it tiot to use the left hand. So with the eye. 
Naturally calculated to see what is distant as well as what 
is near, by our school exigencies we rob it of its facility to 
see what is afar, and screw it to a focus six inches beyond 
the tip of the nose. Curtail the hours of school, or in 
school use oral teaching instead of books, and rigidly 
forbid a child a book out of school, and it will not grow 
up to use spectacles. 

Dr. Boginsky also says that the day's schooling in 
Germany leaves the boys in the evening prostrate, listless, 
and without appetite. They are apathetic to everything 
that encourages physical health, and at night suffer from 
want of sleep, or toss in their beds, and are afflicted with 
headaches. This is also true. ^ To be boy eternal ' — the 
thought of Polyxenes — has little meaning in Germany. 
There Boy is but the diminutive of Man. Responsibility 
fiedls too soon on the young shoulders, and crushes the 
elasticity of youth out of childish hearts. 

The school system is such a strain on the vital energies 
of youths that their physical health would be permanently 

302 Germany^ Present and Past 

deteriorated did not the year of military service oome in 
like the Jubilee, to give the exhausted frame rest and 
time for recovery by emancipating it for a twelvemonth 
from the exactions of the brain. 

There is one point — and, I believe, only one — in which 
our public schools stand unrivalled in the results they 
achieve. The best class and school-room in them — the only 
one which produces really excellent results — is the play- 
ground. There the jostling together of boys' minds, pas- 
sions, bodies, disciplines the future man, and there the boy 
acquires that practical conmion-sense, that clear percep- 
tion of the bearings of a case, which distinguishes hin> 
from a French or Grerman boy. I have heard the remark 
made by foreigners experienced in English as well as 
foreign education, that no boys are like English boys for 
fisu;ility in forming a healthy judgment. Grerman schools 
have no playground, German boys no games. They are 
separated from one another by nine inches on their forms 
in school, and are wider apart when they leave the school- 
room. They never obtain a practical knowledge of life. 
They grow up to live in worlds of their own creation, in 
ideas and theories which are not brought to the test of 
practical experience. It is the ^ fiELCulty ' of common sense, 
which is cultivated with distinguished success in our play- 
grounds, which redeems the English schools from the 
sentence of utter badness which they would otherwise 
deserve. And it is the absence of this ' faculty' in the 
G-erman prospectus which vitiates so much of the 
excellent teaching imparted. Better give the pupils a 
good playground, and confine them daily for three hours 
within its barriers, than seat them for the same time 
before a black-board to study the theory of Political 

A century hence, when the English middle classes 

Education. 303 

shall see the injustice done them in being made to pay 
ninepence in the pound for the education of poor children 

to supplant their own sons incompetently educated in the 
race of life, it is to be hoped they will adopt the Crerman 
system without its blemishes. 

We have endowed schools, but they are under no 
supervision* They may be good one day and bad the 
next ; they are given their character by the ruling head- 
master for the time. Perhaps the most striking feature 
in the present condition of endowed granunar-schools is 
the entire want of organisation among them. Each 
school is independent of all others, and indeed of every- 
body and everything save the statutes by which it is 
governed. There is no subordination of one school to 
another, no classification, no arrangement of work among 
them. They each give the sort of education that it pleased 
the founder three hundred years ago to appoint, or that 
suits the idiosyncracies of the present master, without any 
regard to the wants of the present population and the 
demands of modem culture. They teach Latin and Grreek 
almost exclusively, and teach it in a manner supposed to 
be best suited to qualify for the universities. Yet the 
proportion of scholars at grammar-schools who desire to 
be prepared for the universities is exceedingly small. 
Rich endowments are wasted in providing an education 
not meeting modem demands. The boys, an immense 
majority of the whole number, are compelled to begin a 
course of classical learning that cannot possibly be finished 
during their school career, and will be of no earthly use 
to them in their future business, simply because the 
master wishes it to be said that he has sent a dozen boys 
to the universities during his mastership. 

What a vast amount of money is wasted or misused 
which, if in the hands of the State, might be utilised for 

304 Germany, Present and Past. 

education to answer the exigencies of modem times ! It 
is not, indeed^ to be expected that the Grovemment in oar 
island should confiscate these abused endowments, sweep 
all the receipts into a common educational fund, and 
grapple with the education of the country in a compre- 
hensive and vigorous manner. Bold measures are not 
popular in England ; abuses are like cats, they have nine 
lives. There is now provision miade, in a cumbrous and 
expensive fashion, it is true, for the proper education of 
the lower classes. The State does secure that their 
children shall be given a sound elementary education, and 
by properly certificated teachers. But the same provision 
should in justice be made for the middle class. Mr. 
Squeers was not killed by Nicholas Nickleby. There are 
a legion of Do-the-boys' Halls much nearer St. Paul's 
than Yorkshire, where, if the pupils be not exposed to the 
physical want endured by the Squeers' scholars, the intel- 
lectual starvation is as acute. And education for the 
upper classes should not be allowed to be as costly as it is 
at richly endowed colleges like Eton. 

The well-being of a people depends to a great ext^it 
on its culture. The culture of a nation should be a 
matter, therefore, of chief interest to its Oovemment.* 
Q-ood bread is necessary for the body, and good education 
is not less necessary for the mind. Some years ago 
Englishmen were forced to feed on home-grown coin, 
often spoiled. The monopoly of the former was broken 
through in the interest of the consumer; and bread, 
wholesome and cheap, was made procurable by alL At 
present, good education is extravagantly costly, and bad 
education is not cheap. Melted, mouldy dough that 
would not bake served as bread in bad harvest years 
before the repeal of the Com Laws. Alas ! there is a bad 
educational harvest every year, and thousands (over 

Education. 305 

200,000 boys) are mentally munching melted mouldy 
•dough of knowledge every year. 

It is high time that this wrong should be recognised 
as intolerable to our humanity, and be redressed, and 
that all classes alike should be provided by the State 
^th education, cheap, substantial, and nutritious. 


VOL. I. 

3o6 Germany, Present and Past. 



Anf die lustigste Weise bin ich gelehrt, and zwar sehr gelehrtr 
worden. — Gk>eihe, Wilheha Meitter. 

In 1288 the flower of the Pisan aristocracy fell into the 
hands of the Grenoese^ who imprisoned them in Meloria. 
The captives attempted to negotiate a peace between the 
towns, and for the purpose struck a die wherewith to seal 
their transactions, bearing the legend, ^ SigiUum univer- 
sitatis carceratorum Pisanorum janue detentonmi.' ' Ac- 
cording to the earliest acceptation of the term, an university 
was an assembly of men gathered together for a definite 
purpose — a corporation. It acquired later the narrower 
meaning given it at the present day, confining that purpose 
to the acquisition of learning, and making of an univer- 
sity an organised body. Originally a disorganised body 
of students, it is now an organised body of teachers. 

The mediaBval universities of Europe sprang into exis- 
tence out of gatherings of students around famed instruc- 
tors. Teachers came to a city as adventurers, or to assist 
in the episcopal schools. Men hungering after knowledge 
clustered round their chairs. 

In 1222 two Dominicans, Jordan of Saxony and Henry 

> Engraved in Oolonel Yale's Marco Polo, i. Izzzv. The munici- 
pal body which regulated the price of provisions and had the monopoly 
of supply in Malta till 1822 was called the * University.' 

The Universities. 307 

of Cologne, opened a hospice in the Stolk-Strasse in 
Cologne, and began to lecture on philosophy and theology. 
They were followed by a greater man, Albertus Magnus, 
at whose feet sat St. Thomas of Aquino. Students came 
where there was a teacher, paid fees for attendance, re- 
mained as long as they liked, and went when they liked. 
If a teacher failed to draw he was fain to close his note- 
books and seek another town. 

A German author has said that Borne was the middle 
point of the mediseval world, and that the Papacy sat there 
like a monstrous spider in its web. Into that web fell all 
the flies seeking light and air. If this was the case in the 
political world, it was more so in the world of science. 
Scholasticism was the vast net of interlacing dialectical 
categories, in which the growing, eager minds of the young 
craving for knowledge were caught and strangled. No- 
thing can be more piteous than the sight of cultivated, 
clever minds, fired with desire to know more and to inquire 
into truth, caught in the subtle meshes of the schools, and 
their efforts made of none effect. Rome did not desire 
free inquiry and independent thought, and scholasticism 
did her work in destroying both. 

The great universities formed themselves by degrees 
out of the ecclesiastical collegiate schools, first in Italy 
and France, where Salerno and Bologna, Paris and Mont- 
pellier were the most ancient. Grermany followed. Prague 
and Vienna were founded, the former in 1348, the latter 
in 1365. Prague, though on Bohemian ground, was a great 
resort of the youths of Germany, till Wenzel, the suc- 
cessor of Charles IV., who had founded it, limited the 
privileges of the foreign students, when they migrated in 
swarms, and in 1409 founded the university of Leipzig. 
Heidelberg became an university town in 1386, the foun- 
dation of the university of Cologne was in 1388, that of 

z 2 

3o8 Germany y Present and Past. 

Erfurt in 1392, that of Wurzburg in 1403, that of Rostock 
in 1415 or 1419, that of Freiburg im Breisgau in 1430 or 
1457, that of Qreifswald in 1456 or 1460. The dates of the 
others are, Basel 1459, Ingolstadt 1459 or 1472, Tiibingen 
1477, Mainz 1477, Wittenberg 1502, Frankfurt-on-Oder 
1505, Marburg 1527, Konigsberg 1544, Jena 1548,Dillin- 
gen 1554, Helmstadt 1575, Altdorf 1578, Giessen 1607, 
Paderbom 1614,Eintehi 1621, Kiel 1665, Innsbruck 1672, 
Halle 1694, which closed the series of the old foundations. 
Theology, Canon law, scholastic philosophy, were the 
main subjects of instruction. It was not till the fifteenth 
century that the Humanists introduced into, the circle of 
teaching a study of the classic authors of antiqidty. In 
1477 the Elector Philip summoned Johann Wessel to 
Heidelberg to reform that university, lost in empty labours 
on worthless ground. But the university would have no 
reform, and would not even allow the appointment of a 
professor of Crreek. The most famous humanists of the 
time, Agricola, (Ecolampadius, Reuchlin, were then in 
Heidelberg and lectured, but the imiversity would not 
accredit them among her teachers. Melanchthon was re- 
fused the degree of Doctor in 1511, and betook himself in 
disgust to Tubingen, where he lectured in private. The 
university refused him a Greek chair, and opposed him so 
consistently and perseveringly that he left in 1518 for 
Wittenberg. The Duke of Wiirtemberg, desirous of re- 
forming Tubingen, invited him to return, but he declined. 
In 1535 the Duke abolished the teaching of scholastic 
philosophy in his university, and gave a place to classic 
literature. At the same time he forced the Reformation 
on his lands, and the teachers in Tubingen who refused to 
accept it were obliged to leave. The university lost 
thereby Uelin, Professor of Hebrew, Widmann, Professor of 
Laws, Imser, Professor of Mathematics, Anhauser, Professor 

The Universities. 309 

of Theology, and many others. In Leipzig, on the death 
of Duke Creorge of Saxony, the Elector reformed the uni- 
versity by banishing nearly all the professors, and filling 
their places with Lutherans. In Erfurt the university 
had been founded by the town, not by any prince. A Greek 
chair was established there before that of any other uni- 
versity. Erfurt never cordially accepted the Beformation. 
In 1506 Frankfurt-on-the-Oder appointed a Tezel Doctor 
of Theology. There the Seformation made but slow way. 
The university of Bostock offered it a passive resistance. 

What the universities gained by shaking off scholastic 
theology and philosophy was not very much. The new 
teaching was not more wholesome or profitable. It be- 
came at once bitterly polemical and mentally debasing. 
The Bible was treated as the %edes controveraiarurri ; and 
the title of Professor of Controversy was highest honorary 
designation accorded to a teacher of theology. At Frank- 
furt-on-Oder Praetorius and Musculus divided the univer- 
sity on the question of works before and after justification. 
In 1560 the church doors, lecture-room walls, &c. were 
plasterexl with insulting placards levelled by one party 
against the other, leading to bloody conflicts. Wittenberg 
was torn into two factions of disputants on the Sacraments. 
One university was ranged against another on some indif- 
ferent point of controversial theology. In 1567 the 
professors of Jena complained to the Duke that a 
superintendent of Wittenberg had in public exhorted 
mothers to stab their children rather than send them to 
Jena to imbibe heterodoxy ; and the Wittenberg univer- 
sity, in an official act, designated the Jena university a 
fcetidaTn doaewm, diaboli. * The Protestant lecture-halls,* 
says Scherr,^ ' rang for years with the most perverse, and 
often most unseemly and abusive, contests about Trini- 

> IkuUche KuUwu, SUtengesehUhte, Leips. 1876, p. 849. 

3IO Germany^ Present and Past 

tarianism, synergism, adiaphorism, ciyptocalvinism ; and 
the new theology made it perhaps questionable whether 
it or old scholasticism had wasted the minds of men on 
the absurdest or most unprofitable questions. The furious 
hate with which the theologians persecuted the Protestant 
sectarians who differed from them might be treated firom 
its scurrilous brutality as grotesquely comic, had not the 
results been disastrous to Christian charity and G-erman 
culture. The theological disputants, with poisonous breath, 
corrupted alike the atmosphere of the Church and of the 
inner sanctuary of family life, and brought things to such 
a pass, that even sensible men and women brought their 
best feelings as a sacrifice to the theological Moloch. Can 
it be believed that the really in many respects excellent 
Electress, Anna of Saxony, carried her Lutheran fanaticism 
to such lengths that when her eldest daughter Elizabeth, 
married to the Calvinist Count Palatine John Casimir, 
gave birth to a dead child, she wrote to her on February 
20, 1585, a letter of maternal consolation over her loss, 
comforting her on the grounds that it was better the child 
should have died before birth than that it should, have 
been brought up " to be polluted with the false and god- 
less errors of its father's religion." The pious Electress 
preferred a dead grandchild to one with views on predes- 
tination and election different from her own.' 

The lengths to which controversy ran may be judged 
from another incident. When the Flacian controversy 
was in full blaze, the court preacher of Prince Rudiger of 
Starkemberg refused to give the Sacrament to the Princess 
Anna, who was expecting her confinement, unless she 
would first declare ^ that she was herself the incarnation of 
sin, and that what she bore in her womb was sin, and sin 
only.' * If the schoolmen had made the Word of Qt>d of 

1 Yehae, GwehMhte der BevUchm Hofe^ rol. zlii. p. 246. 

The Universities. 311 

none efiFect by their paradoxes, these Reformed theologians 
did much the same by their controversies. Professor 
Alajus of Giessen, when he published his ^ Praxis Pietatis ' 
in 1697, on entering on his office in the university, de- 
clared that in scarce any university in Germany was the 
Bible expounded with seriousness. Spener says that in 
five or six years not a single exegetical lecture was given* 
Francke declares that in his student life at Leipzig there 
was not a Bible or a New Testament to be had at any of 
the booksellers' shops in the town.' That it was the same 
in Jena, Marburg, Bostock, and other universities, we learn 
from Tholuck in his ' History of Rationalism.' Even in 
1723 and 1728 in Leipzig there were no lectures given on 
theological subjects. 'Things came to this pass,' says 
Tholuck, < that the Lutheran Church had quite forgotten 
the root whence it sprung, and had allowed exegesis of 
the Bible to drop completely out of the curriculum of 
university studies.' In 1638, when Jungius and other 
scholars ventured to state that there were hebraisms and 
other solecisms in the Greek of the New Testament, the 
Wittenberg &culty pronounced this opinion to be blasr 
phemy against the Holy Ghost. 

The sciences fared no better than theology. 

The Academic at Paris, the Boyal Society in London, 
and the imiversities of Holland and Italy, have encouraged 
the study of Nature : the German universities had, till 
the present century, made no contribution towards it. 
Copernicus was canon of Frauenburg: Kepler in vain 
sought a professorship on which he could live. The 
Emperor Rudolf II. invited Tycho Brahe to Prague as 
astronomer, with an annual income of 3,000 ducats ; but 
this was solely because he desired his services as alchymist 
and astrologer. Kepler was indeed given by Wallenstein 

> Francke went to Leipzig in 1684. 

312 Germany, Present and Past 

a professorship at Bostock, but no pay went with the title, 
and he begged in vain at the Diet of Batisbon for pecuniary 
support. The St. Petersburg Academy bought his manu- 
scripts. Hevelke, an astronomer of note in his time, was 
no university professor, but a burgomaster atDantzig, and 
he built an observatory at his own cost. Halley gave a 
£Eivourable report of his labours, and the Boyal Society 
made the Gterman astronomer honorary member. After 
his death, De Lisle bought his registered observations for 
the Paris Observatory. The Grerman universities had not 
troubled themselves about their countryman. If Tobias 
Mayer of Gottingeu had been assisted in his studies by 
a subvention from the university, he woidd not have died 
before reaching the age of forty. His moon tables were 
published in London, and his widow received a sum 
granted her by the English Parliament. 

Otto von Guericke, who discovered the air-pump, 
was a town-counciUor of Magdeburg, and not a professor. 
In 1654 he exhibited the results of his experiments before 
the Diet of Batisbon, but no university held out an invita- 
tion to him to prosecute his studies in it. Aepinus, the 
first discoverer of the electrical condenser, and the dec- 
trophore, was indeed a professor in Bostock, but the St. 
Petersburg Academy published his observations, and he 
died at Dorpat. In the department of chemistry, it is 
true that Sennert studied in Wittenberg, and Stahl and 
Hoffmann in Halle, but the great discoverers, Glauber^ 
Kunckel, Becker, Neumann, Pott, Marggraf, Sheele, 
Klaproth, and Wenzel, stood apart from the German 
universities. Some of these fell into indigent circum- 
stances, some lived on their practice : Sheele alone received 
invitation to an university, in which to labour and teach^ 
but the university was in Sweden, not in Germany. 
Professorships of chemistry were founded at the end of 


The Universities. 313 

ihe last century, or in this. Even in those fields of 
natural science which exact observation without much 
outlay, the universities did not take the lead* 

The mode of instruction in the universities was two- 
fold. The students were taught by lectures and by dis- 
putations. I will speak of the latter presently. 

From a very early period the lecture was dictated* 
In the statutes of the University of Vienna (founded 1365% 
it is ordered ^ that the lecturer shall dictate, slowly and 
distinctly, with indication of paragraphs, and the capital 
letters, commas and other stops, so that the pupils may be 
able easily to write the lecture out legibly.' When books 
were scarce this was very important. Indeed the lecture 
was often little else than the reading of a chapter from a 
book. Dl-instructed men took advantage of this, and, 
having purchased or procured a work by a famous author, 
they set up their chairs, and dictated from it, as though 
it were their own. This is much like the practice of 
modem professional lecturers. They get good essays 
written for them by competent persons, and then go about 
the country delivering them. I remember some years 
ago confounding, unintentionally, one such lecturer, who 
had delivered an interesting discourse on chemistry, and 
illustrated it with experiments. Fresh from Cambridge, 
where I had worked at chemistry under Professor Cummins, 
I entered with zest into the lecture, and began after it to 
question the lecturer. The unfortunate man was forced to 
make a clear breast of his ignorance of the science outside 
of the covers of his essay. The Prague statutes of 1367 
forbad this practice of delivering the works of other men 
by professors ignorant of the science they were expound- 
ing, thereby misleading their students, for the copies 
used were not always correct, Schuppe relates that aft>er 
diligently transcribing a course of lectures delivered at 

314 Germany, Present and Past. 

Marburg, he discovered the same in print, the work of 
Professor Keckermann of Heidelberg. It was not unusoal 
for students devoted to economy to borrow the transcripts 
of other students, and study them at homie, so as to save 
themselves the expense of attending the lectures in 
person. In Italy, the young nobles sent their servants to 
the lecture-room to take the theme down for them, and 
not unfrequently the professors sent their servants to read 
the lecture for them. 

Not only was this method liable to abuse, but it was 
spiritless and dead. The G-rand Council of Venice, in a 
rescript of 1592, declared it disgraceful, and fined every 
professor who read his lecture twenty liras. It was for- 
bidden also in Padua. A professor who had a bad memory 
and was obliged to have recourse to his manuscripts, went 
by the name of the paper-doctor. In Germany, repeated 
attempts were made to do away with dictation. The pro- 
fessors always excused themselves by asserting, truly 
enough, that they were fulfilling the wishes of their pupils, 
who desired to carry away with them what they heard, and 
that the memory was not as reliable as paper. In 1355, the 
pupils threw stones at the heads of the professors who read 
or spoke so fast that they could not copy down their words, 
and the University of Paris had to pass laws punishing 
those who had recourse to this forcible method of express* 
ing their wishes. A year or two ago, a nightingale came 
into a wood near Bradford, and the operatives surrounded 
the grove, and, when the bird did not sing, pelted it with 
sticks and stones to force it to give note. The conduct of 
the Parisian students five hundred years ago was much 
the same. The Electors and Princes tried to make the 
professors give up dictating. They answered that were 
they to do so, they would lecture with empty pockets to 
empty benches. The Jena Theological Faculty, in 1649, 

The Universities. 315 

answered a similar rescript from the Elector, that it was 
impossible to prescribe one mode of delivery for all lectures. 
The importance and character of the matter delivered, and 
the capacities of the hearers, must be considered. 

One of the disadvantages of dictation was, that it 
consumed much time to get through a course. In 1587 
the Saxon Government remonstrated at the length to 
which the courses extended. The professors replied that 
this was unavoidable, as they had to dictate slowly; 
nevertheless, they were guilty of extending their series to 
a length unwarranted by what they had to communicate. 
The most empty-headed persons are the greatest talkers. 
The professors, who had few facts to communicate, filled 
the time of lecture with a flow of words teaching nothing. 
Like spiders they spun interminable threads out of their 
own bodies. Paciuchelli delivered seventy-four lectures 
on the four chapters of the book of Jonah. A Viennese 
theologian, named Haselbach, lectured for twenty-two 
years on the first chapter of Isaiah, and was cut off by 
death before he had done with the chapter. The Tubingen 
chancellor, Penziger, delivered 312 lectures on Daniel in 
four years, then passed on to Isaiah, and finished the 
prophet in 1,509 lectures in a period of twenty-five years ; 
then attacked Jeremiah, and in seven years had got half 
through him, in 459 lectures, when death interrupted the 
course. Even in Spener's time, Karpzow took a whole year 
to interpret the first chapter of Isaiah. The theologians 
were, undoubtedly, the most faulty in this particular, but 
that the other professors were not free from the same 
fidling, is proved by the many decrees regulating the 
length of their lectures, the number of days to which they 
were to be limited, the nimiber of weeks they might 
consume, in going through a course. 

There was a sad deficiency of apparatus and opportunity 

3i6 Germany, Present and Past 

for the effective study of medicine and natural science* 
In 1508, in Wittenberg, it was decreed that the Professor 
of Medicine should once a year ' demonstrate and illus- 
trate what he has taught^ on a human corpse, if he could 
get it.' 

A Tubingen prescript of 1525 expressed a desire that 
anatomical sections should be made once in jBive years. It 
was only in 1606 that such could be made once in the 
year. Before that, the students, if they wanted a subject^ 
were obliged to club together and buy one of the public 
executioner. How rarely such dissections took place may 
be judged by the great account made of them. In 1602 
they are spoken of as most exceptional at Wittenberg, and 
it is recorded as a wonder that in 1526 Professor Schurf 
dissected a human head. After urgent appeal from the 
university to the magistrates of Rostock, a few bodies of 
criminals were accorded to the students in the latter half of 
the sixteenth century. In the Life of Professor Gmelin, 
who studied at Tubingen in 1724-25, it is mentioned as a 
remarkable fact that he assisted at the dissection of two 
bodies. In Halle, Professor Coschurtz, in 1718, built his 
own anatomical theatre ; at the end of the eighteenth 
century a professor left to the university a sum of money 
and his house for an anatomical theatre and a library. As 
the parade place of the garrison was just before its windo?^, 
the university moved the theatre elsewhere. 

The universities were as badly provided with hospitals* 
The Professors of Medicine were expected to take their 
pupils with them on their professional rounds, but as 
patients declined to have their sick-rooms invaded by a 
class of students, and to have themselves lectured upon, it 
was not often that a professor ventured to fulfil the wishes 
of the governing body in this respect. In Halle a hospital 
was attached to Francke's orphanage. There was no 

The Universities. 317 

bospital at Tubingen in 1797, none in Leipzig till 1799, 
and it was not till 1820 that the professor and his pupils 
were given access to it. 

Nor was botany better provided for than anatomy. 
The professors were required to take their pupils once a 
year into the country to study the herbs as they grew, but 
these excursions were not made. In Wittenberg the 
university asked for the laying-out of a medicinal garden, 
but, though the land might have been obtained, there were 
no funds forthcoming for the garden. 

At last, in 1615, the university hit on a remarkable 
scheme for obtaining its end. A student had stabbed a 
peasant, and was condemned to death. The university 
entreated that the penalty might be commuted to a fine 
of 300 florins, which sum was to be devoted to the laying- 
out of a botanical garden. The Elector of Saxony agreed, 
and signed the remission of the penalty. But, unfortu- 
nately, no one had thought to inquire whether the student 
possessed this sum, and now it was found that he was 
wholly without means. He was banished, and the uni- 
versity had to wait for its garden, which it got only in 
1668. HaUe obtained ground for the purpose in 1698, 
but as there was no money for planting it, it was let, and 
not till 1787 was it converted to its proper destination. 
The ground given to the University of Tiibingen lay near 
the residence of the professors, who converted it into 
v^etable gardens for the supply of their households. The 
Crovemment at last took the matter up, and required it 
to be used for the purpose for which it was given. The 
Senate replied that the ground was not suitable, and that 
the ditching round of it would prove too costly. The 
Duke ordered the immediate transformation of the ground 
into nursery-gardens for herbs, not babies. But thirty 
years elapsed before this was done. 

3 1 8 Germany, Present and Past. 

I have mentioned disputations as a mode of instmctioii 
existing alongside of lectures. Beside the sterile and dry 
lecture, the dispute was lively and instructive. But 
however valuable it may have been, as originally designed^ 
it rapidly degenerated into a mere tournament of wit^ 
Students indemnified themselves for the dulness of the 
lecture by giving free scope to their humour in the dispute. 
The discussion not unfrequently led to mutual vilification 
and blows. The Humanists endeavoured to control and 
improve these disputations without abandoning their 
advantages. In Duke Augustus' Church Ordinance it is 
said that one disputation was worth twenty lectures, and 
the professors were exhorted to encourage them. Un- 
fortunately the post-Beformation discussions proved as 
unedifying as those under the days of scholastic theology. 
The points debated were foolish or profane, as, whether a 
camel could go through the eye of a needle, whether 
Adam's garment of skins was of lambs' wool, whether our 
first parents were bom with navels, &c. And the con- 
troversies were carried on as tumultuously as before. 
Remonstrances against these abuses multiplied, but in 
vain. In 1 669 the professors of Jena declared that many 
students applied themselves to disputation ^ who might 
be more profitably employed if they kept themselves in 
coUegiis lectoriisJ* 

The disputation fell gradually into such disrepute, that 
the better class of professors refused to take part in it, and 
it ceased to be a means of communicating instruction. 
In Oxford and Cambridge, the disputation, conducted in 
Latin, survives, as an empty form, held by the candidate 
for a doctor's degree, in the Senate House. That it may 
be utilised as a telling method of conveying instruction is 
known to the Jesuits and other religious orders, and used 
by them in Italy, and, I believe, elsewhere. Disputations 

The Universities. 319 

are held in the churches. A student takes exception to 
some orthodox statement made by another student, and a 
debate in the vemacular follows, ending in the ignominious 
discomfiture of the heretic. Any one who has heard these 
discussions will testify that the ' Judas ' makes a hard fight 
for his cause, and that the dispute attracts an interested 
crowd, and sends them away primed with arguments to 
oppose against all kinds of heresies. 

When the dispute died out of the Grerman universities, 
the lifeless lecture or dictation worked with more numbing 
effect than ever on the spirits of the hearers. And the 
fiwxt that the lecture was delivered in Latin tended to 
increase this deadening effect. A great stride was made 
when Thomasius ventured to teach in German at Leipzig. 
His innovation awoke the liveliest opposition among the 
old professors. But the University of Halle was the first 
to recognise the utility of lectures in the vemacular. 
Leipzig followed. Then Gottsched— of whom I shall have 
a good deal to say in another chapter, — Gellert and 
Hermann taught in German. The other universities 
followed reluctantly. In 1725 a Tiibingen seuatorial 
minute lamented that the philosopher Wolff lectured in 
German, * for, although a lecture in the mother tongue 
may be tolerable and even useful now and then, yet an 
audience accustomed to Latin finds it strange to hear 
philosophy, which can be treated so much better in Latin, 
expressed in German.' The lament is not without cause. 
Nothing can be more involved and laboured than German 
philosophical writing. One cannot but wish that, for 
instance, Hegel had been condemned to formulate his ideas 
in Latin instead of German. They would have gained in 
precision and clearness. Latin remained long in use in 
the divinity schools. Michaelis, in his treatise on the 
Protestant Universities of Germany in 1773, approved of 

320 Germany, Presint and Past. 

the divinity lectures being delivered in Latin, as in tiie 
colleges only Latin was spoken, and the pupils were 
examined and had to answer in the Consistory in that 
tongue. But it was in the medical schools that Latin 
retained longest hold. And the reason offered was that 
Latin instruction necessitated a good preliminary edu- 
cation, and kept the medical profession clear from a shoal 
of barber's apprentices, who would attend German lectures 
and qualify, with danger to human life. A Mend speaking 
to a farmer in the parish in which I live, said, * Good 
heavens I no resident doctor ! None within many miles I ' 
*Well, sirl we get on pretty well without,' replied the 
farmer ; ' in this parish we mostly die a natural death.' 
If the patients in the eighteenth century had been con- 
sulted, they would probably have given their opinion that 
it was a matter of indifference to them whether they were 
treated by guesswork, and made the subjects of experiment 
by school'taught doctors or by barbers lighted by conunon 

It is not to be wondered at, that with such a mode of 
instruction, repeated complaints should be made of the 
ne^flect of hearers and teachers. With the earlier dead 
method of dictation, a professor could easily convince 
himself that he was spending his time more profitably to 
himself and to the studious all over the world, in writings 
books than in lecturing. Those who wanted informatioii 
would buy the books ; the lecture was thrown away on 
indifferent ears ; consequently a great many professors gave 
up teaching with their tongues. The fsLmous humanist 
Bosius, in Jena, confessed that when he received from 
Vienna some codices of Josephus, he gave up his lectures 
for nine months. The Professor of History, Sagitarius, 
admits that in 1681 he gave no lectures, because he was 
busy with the catalogue of the library, and then visited 

The Universities, 321 

Carlsbad for his health, and then returned to cataloguing. 
MussBus did not lecture during thirty weeks whilst en- 
gaged on writing a controversial work comi/ra Wedelium. 

* I do not know what to say of my studies,' wrote a Tubin- 
gen student in 1698, ' for no lectures are delivered in this 
university, and there is no learning save by books. We 
live in complete idleness. In this whole term not one 
lecture has been delivered.' Lyser wrote the same thing 
firom Leipzig in 1 684. A letter of Strube from Helmstadt, 
in 1619, describes the professors there as a hive of drones. 
AU sorts of excuses were made for not giving lectures — 
a funeral, a wedding, a christening, preoccupation. In 
Rostock a horsefiEur was sufficient ground for the cessation 
of all studies in the university. 

It was no wonder that the inattention of the professors 
should encourage the students in idleness. 

Diirr's romance of student life, ^ Qeschichte Tychanders,' 
gives us a picture of the life at the universities in 1668. 

* My years at college were spent without Ood, without 
conscience, without prayer, in unmixed heathen carnival 
revelry. Do I speak of it as heathenish ? Why, when 
among heathens was such a devilish life led ? Eatiog, 
drinking, swaggering, throwing stones, smashing windows, 
breaking into houses, turning respectable people into ridi- 
cule, tormenting freshmen by revelry and roguery, plun- 
dering them of the fruit of their parents' blood and sweat, 
— such was my daily life. As for study, I did nothing 
in that line : I had plenty of other pranks to attend to. 
Nor were the women neglected. Students had much freer 
introduction to wanton girls than other men»' 

Even in Luther's time there was bitter lamentation over 
the ^drunkenness, debauchery, and savagery' of the stu- 
dents of Wittenberg, the newly-formed nursery of Lutheran 
orthodoxy. In 1563 two sons of Duke Philip of Pomerania 

VOL. I. T 

322 Germany, Present and Past. 

were sent to study in * the earthly Zion,' the Univeraity 
of Wittenberg, and were put to lodge in the house of Luther, 
whose widow was still alive, with the son of the Refonner* 
The rooms above and below that occupied by the princes 
were crowded with riotous students, drinking, dicing, and 
conducting themselves so uproariously that the princes 
and their tutor longed to be clear of this cradle of religion.* 
Tholuck, in his book on Academic Life in the seven- 
teenth century, publishes the acta descriptive of the utter 
moral dissolution not of the students only, but of the wives 
and daughters of the professors in Tiibingen.* The be- 
ginning of the eighteenth century saw Grerman students 
in the same condition of lawless barbarism. Student- 
songs of that period are not tasteless only, but coarse to 
the utmost indecency. Along with brutality went the 
grossest superstition and the most audacious atheism. In 
1715 some students of Jena attempted to conjure up the 
devil. Two peasants died of the experiment, and the 
students were only recovered with di£5culty. The magis- 
trates tried them for witchcraft, and supposed that the 
devil had really strangled the two peasants. They were 
ignorant of the fact that a charcoal fire, such as that used 
in the incantation, in a close room causes asphyxia. A 
much more horrible circumstance occurred the following 
year in Halle. A considerable number of students and 
harlotfi united in performing in a public-house a travesty 
of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. An hour after 
the performance ten of the students were dead, as well as 
the host and his two daughters. Li his tipsy carelessness 
the tavemer had diluted his beer, which was running shorty 
Trith a pailful of strong lye instead of water. 

The numerous imiversities of Grennany had been 

» Vehse, OeicUelvte der Deutiohen Hofe, vol. xxix. p. 249. 
• Tholuck, Dot AkademUche ZebeUy i. p. 145-277. 

The Universities. 323 

founded by princes in their often small principalities; 
they were their heads and chancellors or visitors. The 
professors became their servants and functionaries, receiv- 
ing from them fixed salaries, in place of the honorarium 
from their pupils imder the Mediaeval system. 

The salaries were low. The whole number of pro- 
fessors at Wittenberg received only 3,795 florins, those of 
Konigsberg 3,000 florins. Luther and Melanchthon drew 
as professors what was considered the large salary of 200 
florins. The first Professor of Laws in Wittenberg received 
200 florins, the second 180 ; the first Professor of Medicine 
had 150 florins, the second 130, and the third 80 florins. 
In the philosophical and philological feusulties the pay 
was worse. The teachers of Hebrew and Greek received 
each 100 florins ; the rest received 80 to 40 florins. In 
the University of Vienna, in 1514, the salary of the Pro- 
fessor of Greek and Arabic was 300 florins, that of a 
Professor of Medicine 150 florins. The income of the 
library at Wittenberg was so small that it could only lay 
out a hundred florins annually in the purchase of books. 
The number of teachers in the universities was in the 
sixteenth century very small. In 1536 Wittenberg had 
only twenty-two, Jena in 1564 sixteen, Konigsberg was 
founded with thirteen. As concerns the attendance at the 
universities, the numbers were very fluctuating. Heidel- 
berg, in 1546, was so sunk that the university threatened 
to collapse altogether. It was the same with Tubingen : 
when the Catholic professors were expelled, the students 
streamed to Freiburg. In 1564 Jena had only 500 
students, but Wittenberg, in 1 549, had a thousand ; in 1 562, 
two thousand five hundred. Between 1502 and 1677 as 
many as 75,528 had attended it. Whoever had the means, 
protracted his studies through many years. It was not 
unusual to have students of eight, ten, or twelve years' resi- 


324 Germany y Present and Past 

dence. But there were also grey monsters of antiquity 
among them — as Heinrich Oel^ who died a student at 
Leipzig, aged a hundred. 

The Grerman universities are now very di£ferent &om 
what they were even last century. The revival of letters 
and learning has transformed them. No such complaints 
are heard now as were common during the last three cen- 
turies. The professors now do not neglect their duty, and 
if they lecture — too often — ^in a spasmodic, uncultivated 
style, they do not waste the hour of lecture with verbose 
nothingnesses. They have now always something to say, 
and are only careless about saying it well. The reform 
has not been wrought by the State, and by laying down of 
rules and imposition of penalties, but by the spirit and re- 
quirements of the age. When Schleiermacher was served 
with a monition from the Sector, for having dismissed his 
class before the allotted lecture hour had expired, he sent his 
thesis to the Bector with the request that he would add to 
it the necessary padding. He had said what he had got 
to say, and was incapable of diluting wine with water, and 
adulterating butter with lard. The University of Berlin 
ordered that after a lecture a book should be handed 
round, in which those attending were to inscribe their 
names. Of course students wrote the names of absent 
friends as well as their own, and the professor, on look- 
ing over the book, was surprised to find that his lecture 
had been attended by crowned-heads and eminent person- 
ages of all periods of history. The present custom at 
Cambridge is for those attending lectures to leave their 
cards at the door. This system is not adopted in the 
Crerman universities. The students merely signify their 
desire to attend a course, before it begins, and pay their 
honorarium: then they attend or not as they like. 

The number of universities in G-ermany is now re- 

The Universities. 325 

duced : several have been suppressed or transferred else- 
where. A few have been founded in modem times. The 
University of Erfurt was suppressed in 1816; that of 
Frankfiirt-on-Oder was transferred to Breslau in 1810. 
Altdorf was suppressed in 1806, Dillingen in 1804, Helm- 
stadt in 1809, Binteln in the same year. Cologne, Mainz, 
and Paderbom have also ceased to exist. 

On the other hand, Berlin University was founded in 
1 809 by King Frederick William of Prussia ; that of Ingol- 
stadt was transferred in 1802 to Landshut, and in 1826 
to Munich, where it received fresh foundation by the King 
of Bavaria. Bonn was founded in 1818, Erlangen in 
1743, Gottingen in 1737. Wittenberg has been incor- 
porated (1817) with Halle ; Miinster was endowed in 1780, 
and re-endowed in 1818, and Strassburg reorganised in 
1872. There are, therefore, now in Q-ermany 21 univer- 
sities; if we include Braunsberg (1818), a Catholic theo- 
logical and philosophical establishment, 22.^ 

* Since the table over-leaf ¥raB sent to press, I have received the fol- 
lowing particulars of a later date. Daring a semester of 1878, the nine 
Proflsian National Universities, the Academy at Miinster (with philo- 
sophical and Catholic-theological faculties), and the Lyceum Hosianmn 
at Bramisberg (with philosophical and Catholic-theological faculties), 
possessed a totaJ of 984 < Docenten,' 465 of whom were Ordinary Pro- 
fessors, 7 Honorary Professors, 217 Extraordinary Professors, and 245 
Privat-Docenten. Berlin had the largest nmnber— namely, 208 ; 
Gottingen followed next, with 119, Breslau wiih 101, Bonn with 100, 
HaUe with 96, Konigsberg with 82, Marburg with 68, Kiel with 61, 
GreifBwald with 59, Miinster with 80, and Braunsberg with 10. The 
Bvangelical-theological faculties coimted 81 teachers, the Catholic- 
theological 25, the juristic 91, the medical 268, and the philosophical 
477* The total number of students at these eleven High Schools 
amounted to 9,006, of whom Berlin had the largest number, 2,569. 
Bzealau received 1,240, Bonn 1,063, Gottingen 988, Halle 914, Konigs- 
beig 600, Greifswald 520, Marburg 450, MOnster 322, Kiel 252, and 
Braunsberg 17. At the Evangelical-theological faculties 762 attended, 
and 288 at the Catholic-theological (105 in Bonn, 116 in Miinster, 56 
in Breslau, and 11 in Braunsberg). There were 4,096 * philosophers,* 
2,379 * jurists,* and 1,481 medical students. 


Germany, Present and Past. 












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The Universities. 327 

As in the Crerman universities there are no colleges 
except for those destiaed for holy orders — ^the students 
lodge in the towns ; the price of lodgings of course varieB 
greatly. In Berlin a student can obtain a room for from 25 
to 30 marks a month : attendance costs 3 marks ; morning 
coffee from 6 to 7 marks, 50 Pf. ; firing daily from 20 to 30 
Pfennige. A student can get room, attendance, breakfast 
and firing for the winter term (end of October to March 1) 
for about 210 marks, or 10 guineas ; for the summer term 
(end of April to August 1), for about 150 marks, or 72. 10^. 

A student can dine at any hotel or restaurant for from 
15 to 30 marks per month. The matriculation fee is 18 
marks ; but for a student from another university 9 marks. 
On leaving the university he pays 14 marks for his testi- 

Of lectures given by the professors, there are two sorts, 
the * Publicum' and the * Privatum.' To the public 
lecture all persons are admitted ; and it is either gratis, or 
a honorarium of sixpence in English money is paid. The 
Privatum is delivered to the students in one special sub- 
ject, and is more special in its interest. The honorarium 
paid for these private lectures — four hours per week 
throughout the term — is from fourteen to twenty marks. 
At Heidelberg, the usual honorarium for one hour per week 
during term in the legal and philosophical faculties is 
three marks and a half. At Jena for four hours per week, 
twelve marks ; but a medical course costs from eighteen to 
twenty-one marks. Attendance at the necessary lectures 
for a yeat at Kiel comes to about 540 marks, or 27^. 

Every professor is supposed to give four to six hours a 
week of private lectures, and from two to three hours of 
public lectures. In the medical faculty the lectures are 
from ten to twelve hours a week ; professors of exegesis 
give six hours. Some professors give also the ^Priva- 

328 Germany, Present and Past, 

tissimmn,' i.e. lecture in private, in their houses, to their 
pupils. This is nearly always gratis. University pro- 
fessors are most jealous of their comrades making money 
by their knowledge, and selling their science. Con* 
sequently few venture to brave the general feeling and 
charge for private ' coaching.' Those who do so, escape 
condemnation by extracting fees from English and Ameri- 
can students, who are regarded as Sedr game. 

In addition to the professors of the University are the 
Privat-Docenten. A student who has finished his course 
may desire to devote himself to university life, and be- 
come a member of the teaching body. He accordingly 
sends in a book he may have published, or an essay he has 
written, to the Dean, and with it names three subjects on 
which he is prepared to lecture. The Dean, thereupon, 
appoints a day and hour, and subject, and summons the 
£Bkculty. The candidate then delivers his lecture before 
the collected professors, and is questioned by them. If he 
proves his knowledge of his subject, he is given his vmAa 
docendij after which he may deliver lectures. If he is 
successful, during two years, in attracting pupils, he is 
appointed extraordinary professor, and receives a stipend* 
He then waits till he receives a caU as professor to an 
university. He may not solicit a vacant professorship, 
he may not take any steps to secure votes ; but must await 
his call as a special providence. Should he write to the 
Dean, or any of the professors, on a vacancy occurring, he 
is pretty certain of rejection ; so also if he solicits the re- 
commendation of the Minister of Public Instruction. If by 
the end of two years the Privat-Docent has not been able 
to collect an audience, he is pronounced a &ilure, and with- 
draws from the university to adopt professional practice. 

The Crerman universities confer but one degree, that 
of Doctor. The candidate desirous of obtaining a degree 

The Universities. 329 

sends in a thesis to the Dean of the Faculty, who submits it 
to the other members, and if they approve, the candidate 
is summoned to examination. This used to take place in 
the house of the Dean ; it does so still in some faculties, 
and in the smaller universities ; and the professors invited 
by the Dean put the candidate through his facings, whilst 
they partook of wine or beer, smoked, and ate breakfast or 
supper, for which the candidate paid by putting a sum of 
money into the hand of the Dean's wife. Now in the 
large universities the examination takes place in the 
schools, unrelieved by pipes and beer. The result is, that 
there is some difficulty in collecting the professors for it : 
the new method may be more formal, but it is less 
pleasant. Some of the universities — Jena and Oiessen 
were the chief offenders — ^were wont to give degrees on 
very easy terms. It was enough to send in a thesis, which 
may or may not have been written by the candidate. The 
fee for the degree was what was considered, not the merit 
of the postulant. Professor Mommsen called the attention 
of the Prussian Government to university abuses of this 
kind, and every faculty in the German universities was 
required to submit its rules to a Government Commission. 
Such abuses do not now exist. They cannot. Govern- 
ment exacts an examination of every man who passes 
through the university before he be admitted into one of 
the learned professions, conducted, not by the university, 
but by the Government Commissioners. If one who had 
received his Doctor's diploma from the faculty were to 
be plucked by the Government examiners, the scandal 
would attract general observation, and the faculty bring 
down on itself universal ridicule. 

Students may pass at will from one university to 
another. A friend of mine began his academic career at 
Wiirzburg, continued it at Heidelberg, and concluded it 

330 Germany y Present and Past. 

at Bonn. They may, or may not, attend lectures : nothing 
is compulsory. But the Grovemment insists on all candi- 
dates for the njinistry of the Church (Catholic and Protes- 
tant alike), and for law and medicine, passing three years 
in a Grerman imiversity, and at the end of that period 
undergoing examination by Grovemment Commissioners. 
The university is in Germany, not the testing, but the 
teaching body. It instructs, Grovemment examines. 

The German universities are almost destitute of col- 
leges. Before the Beformation it was not so. There were 
many founded for the reception of poor scholars. At 
Tubingen, for instance, Plantsch endowed a little college 
for eighteen students out of his income, just before the 
storm burst over the university. Almost all such endow- 
ments have been swallowed up by the princes. But in 
Berlin is the Melanchthonium for divinity students, and the 
Johanneum, also for candidates for the ministry, where 
they are lodged for from three to six marks a month. At 
Breslau is the Episcopal Seminary for Catholic students, and 
the Johanneum for candidates for the Protestant ministry. 
At Leipzig is one coUege for 280 students, who are lodged 
and given breakfast and supper free of expense. In Frei- 
burg was a college for those studying for orders, but the 
town has seized on the building and turned out of it the 
superior and the students. 

In the German universities the students wear no 
academical dress, and are not subjected to any oversight. 
They may go out of their lodgings and come in at any 
time of the night or day. They may go anywhere without 
the risk of being caught by proctors. They have neither 
chapels to keep, nor rations to consume. They are abso- 
lutely their own noiasters, and under no sort of supervision 
and restraint. I do not believe, from my own observation, 
that they abuse their liberty, and that the restrictions to 

The Universities. 331 

which youths are subjected in the old English universities 
have any superior moral advantage. That our college 
system has other advantages I fully admit. In them men 
of all classes are more thrown into association with one 
another than in the German university, where the only 
bond is that of the Corps, Burschenschaft, or Verbindung, 
to which they belong. Thus, in Grermany, the biirgers' 
sons meet and walk and drink together in one tavern, the 
bauers' sons in another, and the gentlemen in a third. In 
the whole course of the term or academical career, the 
members of one club probably never even hear the names 
of, much less speak to those of another club. Thus, the 
university career has no civilising influence on the manners. 
A youth always leaves \h% university more uncouth and 
unmannerly than he entered it. In the colleges of Oxford 
and Cambridge, where men of all classes rub together, 
the ' cad ' necessarily sloughs off much of his old rude- 
ness, and acquires unconsciously a refinement of manner 
foreign to the parental back-shop. And the man of birth 
finds that among the middle-class fellow-collegians are 
men of great ability, excellence, and perseverance, and 
he contracts maybe with one such a lasting friendship, 
which continues through life, when the one is at the hall 
and the other in the parsonage. At all events, everything 
like class prejudice is broken down by the English system, 
and intensified by the G-erman system. The bauer's 
son becomes more boorish, the biirger more townish, 
and the noble more exclusive. In Cambridge the men 
wear gowns according to their colleges, in Germany, 
caps and scarves according to their social grade.^ A 

' The gentlemen belong to the Corps, and wear white caps and 
ficarres. The Bnrschenschaften are filled with the sons of pastors, 
apothecaries, tradesmen. For a good acconnt of these Bnrschenschaften 
flee Mayhew's *■ Oerman Life and Manners in Saxony : ' chap, zzi., 
* Student Life at Jena.* 

332 Germany^ Present and Past. 

white cap will not go within spitting distance of a humble 
purple cap« 

The mingling and friction of men in a college rub 
down self-conceit, and many a bumptious boy, when he 
comes to an English xmiversity, drops before his freshman's 
year is out to a sober estimate of himself. The German 
system, on the other hand, accentuates priggishness. The 
duelling, which is so prevalent in the German universities, 
is one consequence of this. Each student comes up with 
an overweening idea of himself; if he were forced to live 
with other men, sit with them in hall, and by them at the 
college lecture, or in the chapel, row in the same boat with 
them, scout for them at cricket, or speak with them in the 
same debating-club, he would learn to give and take. 
But nesting alone in his lodging, associatiDg only with a 
few, he becomes suspicious of offence, ready to take um- 
brage at a trifle, and obliged by the regulations of his 
corps to fight whenever he harbours an impression that 
he has been treated with disrespect. A student is proud 
of his slashed cheeks and slit nose : the scars prove him a 
gentleman, i.e. a man apt to take offence. Of the dignity 
of self-respect, the courtesy of a gentleman, he has no idea, 
and never acquires it. Swagger, bluster, and bombast 
are the badges of gentility with him, as they are of the 
^ cad ' in England. I asked a friend one day what waa 
the distinguishing feature of the 'Adel' in Germany. 
* The young Adel,' was the answer given me, 'are ready to 
fling away their lives as dirt, if but rudely nudged, and 
no apology offered.' 

And this is the only conception the burger student 
has of nobility, and in his striving to be a gentleman, he 
apes the readiness to take offence in the unapproachable 
class above him in rank, and below him in fortune. 
Education is not merely the sharpening of the intellect, 

The Universities. 333 

aad the loading of the memoiy, but it is the polish of the 
mind also. And the mind is polished by association with 
women of all classes, and with men above and below in 
social standing. I have already spoken of the great mis- 
fortune to Crerman men, that they mix so little with ladies. 
Boys do not play with their sisters, young men do not 
make them their confidants and friends. C!onsequently, 
they grow up without that reverence for womanhood which 
is so characteristic of young English gentlemen. It is 
precisely at the period of adolescence that prejudices are 
fixed for life or filed off; and thus it becomes all-im- 
portant for young men to mix with those of other classes 
in the social scale, that they may know the special merits 
of each, and learn to esteem each for its merits. This is what 
our English imiversity system affords, and the Oerman 
university does not afford. Gentlemanliness is not readi- 
ness to take umbrage, but consideration for the feelings of 
others. And for acquiring this, the G-erman university is 
no school. 

Grerman university education produces another result, 
advantageous in one respect, the reverse in another, good 
or bad according to the view taken of education. 

If academic training be designed to focus the mental 
eye on one portion of the field of science, and on one 
point in that portion, then the German method is per- 

The student's attention is withdrawn from aU distract- 
ing interests, and is concentrated on his special subject, 
and on the particular subdivision of his subject, which is 
to be the object of his life's study. It has been said, and 
said with truth, that school- work in Germany makes boys 
short-sighted. University study makes men mentally short- 
sighted. They are educated to look at nothing but what 
is immediately under their noses. When I was a \iorjy it 

334 Germany, Present and Past. 

was a fJEkvourite trick of mine to mesmerise cocks, by 
placing them on a black-board, and drawing a line of chalk 
from the beak to the extreme edge of the board. The 
fowl then lay entranced for a considerable length of time, 
gazing with riveted attention at the chalk line. This iff 
precisely the system of the German universities ; the 
students are given each his chalk line, along which alone 
he is to look, and in the absorbed contemplation of which 
he is to be lost all his life. 

The Grerman method leads to magnificent results, it 
must be admitted, for those trained under it become 
masters of their special subjects, unapproachable by those 
brought up under a more liberal discipline. As long as it 
is pursued, G-erman men of science and learning will dis- 
tance all competitors. In natural science, in philosophy, 
in philology and every other branch of learning they will 
particularise a twig on the tree of knowledge, one leaflet 
on the twig, digest it, and then drop off content. When 
Lord Dufferin went to Iceland, he found there a professor 
from Fatherland hunting moths. He was not in pursuit 
of moths generally — that subject was too wide — but of one 
sub-order of moths, and to discover the variations in this 
sub-order he was ranging round the world. We have an 
analogous system in one of our tmiversities, — Cambridge. 
There the student of mathematics has his interests detached 
from the littercB huma/niorea and concentrated on calcu- 
lations. The wrangler is sent out into society without one 
point of sympathy with it, into the world of men, to look 
on them as units in a great sum subject to permutations 
and combinations, to be contemplated and calculated firom 
a statistical point of view. He will go into it — 

Jotting the labouring class's riches ; 

And after poking in pot and pan, 

And routing garments in want of stitches. 

The Universities. 335 

Will ascertain that a working man 

Wears a pair and a quarter of average breeches.' 

He is dismissed from his university into the crowd of 
beating hearts and eager interests, labouring with a cal* 
cidus in his brain. 

Herr Lasker, in an article on the Grerman universities 
in the ^ Bundschau,* complains that the educational system 
there is productive of one-sidedness, of narrowness, not of 
breadth. No general view of history, or natural science, 
or jurisprudence, is set before the students, but they are 
tied down to one petty point in each, and in the mastery 
of this, all idea of the relation it bears to other points and 
truths is lost. ' The university,' he says, ^ splinters itself 
into special schools. Each special subject is broken into 
minute particulars. The student becomes a scholar, and 
after the legal course is over, he comes to an understanding 
with the teacher along with his fellow-workers in the same 
subject to foUow a mean programme. He who has not 
made natural science his special department leaves the 
university without an idea of the weighty discoveries of 
natural philosophers. He who has gone through his course 
in medicine, gets no general survey of the many branches 
of study necessary for his calling : he has explored but one, 
and all subjects beyond his professional range are abso- 
lutely closed to him. The law-student knows nothing of 
the structure of the hiunan body ; the surgeon nothing 
of the elementary groundwork of law and justice; the 
first principles of social economy, literature, ethnology, 
history, and all those matters which every educated man 
ought to know something about, if he is to mix in society, 
are to a terrible degree strange to those studying in special 
departments. The lecture-rooms lie side by side, the 
many schools are under one roof, the professors belong to 

> Hood, TaU of a Trumpet. 

336 Germany t Present and Past. 

one senate, the whole society is tied together by statutes 
and external organisation, but the spiritual li'nV is Tnigging ; 
personal avocations insulate, particular studies separate 
the students ; and the university is nothing more than a 
congeries of schools for specialists.' 

It was precisely because the theological training tended 
to narrow the minds of candidates for orders, that the 
Imperial Government has insisted on all theological 
students qualifying as well in three other subjects, such as 
literature, history, geography, mathematics, jurisprudenoe, 
natural philosophy, &c. No such requirement is made 
of candidates for law and medicine, and they will issue 
from the university more narrowed than the divinity 
students by their training. It is a consciousness of this, no 
doubt, which has made the Government of Germany insist 
on examining the students of the universities by com-' 
missioners of its own appointment^ and on making the 
training of the Lyceum and Biirgerschule so general and 
excellent. This preliminary education is, as I have shown, 
on a broad basis. The contraction of the basis begins at 
once and abruptly in the university. After striving to 
stretch little minds to cover acres, they tie them down 
on a needle-point. But the teaching of the schools ought 
to be followed up at the university, not set aside. 

A German professor, to whom I was one day speakings 
on various subjects, interrupted me with the exclamation, 
^ You Englishmen puzzle me beyond measure. You know 
a Uttle of so many things, and are so full of interest in 
every department of literature, science, and art I Believe 
me, there must be no universality of knowledge and in- 
terest if a man is to be master of a subject.' He was 
right, but then life is much more pleasant to a man who 
has a nerve everywhere in sympathy with all that surrounds 
him. It is, I doubt not, the necessity of working for a 

The Universities, 337 

liyelihood which specialises German studies. The majority 
of men who go to the miiversity go there to learn what will 
gain them their bread, not to become cultivated members 
of society. ^ Bread-and-butter students ' these are termed, 
and all professors lament that their necessity should in- 
terfere with their general culture. The question seems 
to me to resolve itself into this — sooner or later a man, if 
he is to do anything in his profession, must become a 
specialist, but whem is specialisation in his studies to begin ? 
I should say, not till he leaves the university. A liberal 
education will always tell in the end ; and I do not believe 
that valuable time is lost in deferring the contraction of 
the radius of studies till a man is twenty-three. 

To such an extent has specialisation invaded all classes 
of human activity in Germany, that there is now a special 
organ. Hie BeiTMeideTy for those professors of the art of 
clothing, who devote their peculiar and undistracted atten- 
tion to the legs of man and the best mode of vesting 

VOL. I. Z 

338 Germany y Present and Past. 




Franoe, hast thon yet more blood to cast away ? 
Say, shall the current of our right roam on f 
Whose passage, vez'd with thy impediment. 
Shall leave his native channel, and o*erswell 
With course disturbed even thy confining shores, 
Unless thou let his silver water keep 
A peaceful progress to the ocean. 

King John, act ii. sc 2. 

^ Eyebt German is subject to military duty, and cannot 
perform it by proxy.' The Beichsverfassung places this 
statement at the head of the Articles on military afiairs* 
In it is declared the personal obligation of every man in 
the country to bear arms for the defence of Fatherland.^ 

This principle of universal military service is no 
special feature of German organisation, but what is peculiar 
to Germany is the way in which it is carried out. 

For understanding this, it is necessary to lay down a 
few plain truths which have been grasped by the Germans 
and missed by others. And it is to the recognition of 
these elementary truths, which lie at the root of the Ger- 
man organisation, that the Empire owes the possession of 

> It is, however, broken by Art. 1 of the Kriegsdienst-Gefleta of 
Nov. 9, 1867, which exempts : — 

1. Members of the reigning houses in the Empire. 

2. „ mediatised princely houses. 

8. Natives of Klsass and Lothzingen bom before Jan. 1, 1851. 

The Army. 339 

the most magnificent army tlie world baa ever seen and is 
ever Ukel; to see. Other nations may copy, but they can 
not Barpass a military system which in its main features 
is absolutely perfect. 

The object of an army is to execute by physical force 
the will of the general in command. 

The army is the implement with which ti 
executed : therefore, for the carrying out of the o 
greater the physical force employed, the more tx. 
general is of attaining his purpose. 

But the physical force of an army is compost 
factors: ^r«f,the numerical strength of the foi 
command; aecovMy, the special perfection of eacl 
«onBtituting this force. 

The first factor is raised to its highest po 
every available man has been called to arms ; th 
when every soldier has received the most comp 
cation required for a military vocation. For thi 
the greatest posdhle amount of time must be d< 
military education. 

But the State has to consider not merely the eff 
its army, but also the commercial prosperity of the 
Consequently, all mei^ cannot be Uiken from 
avocations for an indefinite length of time. It 
its coat, bon gri mal gr&, according to its cloth. 

It is the interest of the State to have a strong 
its disposal, but it is a greater interest of the Stab 
this with the least possible distraction of the energ 
country firom agriculture, commerce, and manufa 

Out of the balance of these two interests i 
measure of the strength of the militaiy power of a 

If, however, military power be the product of 
and of military capability, it is clear that two 
forces may exacUy equalise or neutralise each otl 

340 Germany, Present and Past. 

the factors differ. That is, a smaller number of men with 
greater capacities may equal a greater number with 
smaller capacities. 

From this consideration arise two military systems. 

One system raises the factor of the strength of the troops 
to the highest possible term, by drawing all into the 
army capable of bearing arms, but in consequence is 
obliged to reduce the second factor to its minimum. This 
is the Militia system. Its inlierent weakness lies in this 
fiwt, that when one fiu;tor=0, it may be multiplied to any 
amount without obtaining a product. 

Another system rests its supreme weight on the mili- 
tary capabilities of the men, and their length of service ; 
consequently the number under arms has to be reduced to 
a mijiimum. This is the recruUi/ng system. It also has 
its inherent defects. If once the small army of picked 
men be annihilated, there are no successive levies of re- 
serves trained to take its place. Great competence is 
succeeded by utter incompetence. And, again, it is by no 
means satisfactorily shown that a soldier of twenty 
years' standing in the ranks is better than one who has 
been under training for five years. With the oflEcer it is 
different. But with the private, I believe, it is not so. If 
I am not very much mistaken, I think it will be found 
that a G-erman private retiring into the reserve is in 
every point as thorough a soldier as an English private of 
many years' standing ; in several particulars his superior, 
for tiie English training is not to be compared with that 
of the German soldier. As for physical strength and 
endurance, and moral courage, one is as good a man as the 
other. How we suffered for want of a reserve in the 
Crimean war is in all men's memories. We sent out boys, 
and they died like flies. We are better off now, or we 
should be nowhere in the military race. 

The Army. 341 

The German system is an endeavour to hold a medium 
between the Militia and the recruiting systems. It en- 
deavours to unite the advantages of both, by raising both 
JEU^tors to their highest possible power. 

Every man capable of bearing arms is given a thorough- 
going military education, so that every able-bodied man 
in the Empire is capable of responding to the call of the 
Emperor, and he can send rank after rank, host afber host, 
of disciplined men into the field, till he has exhausted all 
the manhood in the coimtry. 

To eflFect this, the conscripts must not be kept longer 
under colours than is absolutely necessary for their military 
education, and when this is completed, must be sent back 
to their peaceful avocations, only to be called up again so 
often as to ensure their not forgetting what they have 
learned. By this means the least strain is put on the 
country, and the greatest military force is obtained. But, 
again, military capacity is the result of two &ctors: 
mechanical drill, and educated intelligence. It follows, 
therefore, that without affecting the product, the first 
factor may be diminished, and the second increased. Con- 
sequently, a less amount of drill, that is, only just sufficient 
to qualify him for his duties, is sufficient for a man of 
education. In intellectual development and general intel- 
ligence, the latter makes up what the clown has to work 
out by means of drill. Let 10 be the total, x the drill, and 
y education; then 8a?-f 2y=10, and so will 3aj+7y=10. 
On this is based the system of Einjahrigers.' 

From these general observations we may pass to the 
description of the norms through which the doctrine just 
laid down is applied. 

The duty to bear arms applies, of course, only to those 
capable of doing so, physically and mentally, and to those 

^ To be described presently. 

342 Germany, Present and Past 

"wbo are morally qualified to stand in the ranks and fight 
for Fatherland. 

The conscripts who are unable to serve under arms are- 
sent to workshops, hospitals, or offices, attached to a 
corps. Imprisonment for felony or any serious crime^ 
incapacitates a man from serving his country. 

Every G-erman — ^if not in the navy — ^belongs to the ac- 
tive army for sefven, years ; as a rule, firom the age of twenty 
to the beginning of the twenty-eighth year.* During 
the first three years he belongs to the standing army; 
during the last /owr to the reserve ; during the next five 
to the Landwehr ; and to the Landsturm till forty-two. 

The entire nautical population is free &om military 
service, but is required for the navy. As nautical popula- 
tion are reckoned all those who on entering their twentieth 
year have served for one year at least either in a German 
trading or fishing vessel, or have been stokers, or served 
on steamboats in any capacity. 

The length of service in the navy, reserve, and See^ 
wehr is the same as in the army. 

The armament of the German Empire consists of — 

I (standing. 

UDder colo ursj^^^^ 
the Landwehr. 

2. The Navy - 

, standing, 
the fleet \ 


the Seewe^r. 
3. The Landsturm. 

The standing army and fleet are always on a war 
footing : they are the schools educating the nation for war. 
The Land- and Seewehr are the feeders of the standing 

* In Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, and Hanover, from the Slst \a 
the 29th year. 

The Army, 343 

army and navy. The Landsturm only flies to arms when 
a portion of the realm is threatened with invasion. The 
standing army in time of peace has been limited till 1881 
to 401,659 men, a number it may not exceed ; the Frei- 
willigers not included. This number is a maximum. 
On no day in the year may it exceed this. It is the nor- 
mal number for which the Seichstag votes supplies. 

The army consists of— 1. Infantry ; 2. Cavalry ; 3. 
Field Artillery ; 4. Siege Artillery ; 5. Pioneers ; 6. Train. 
There are other formations, as schools for under-oflScers, 
a railway battalion, telegraph corps, riding institutes, &c. 

For tactical unity, in the infantry the battalion is the 
unit, in the cavalry the squadron, in the field artillery, 
the battery. 

The Infantry consists of 469 battalions, or 269,8^9 men. 
„ Cavalry „ 466 squadrons „ 65,512 „ 

„ Field Artillery „ 309 batteries „ 30,637 „ 
„ Siege „ „ 29 battalions „ 14,986 „ 
„ Pioneers compose 18 „ 9,168 „ 

„ Tnun „ 18 „ 6,049 „ 

To this we must add 1,806 men for special formations, 
and 4,703 men for officers of the Landwehr, forming the 
firamework about which it will gather on mobilisation. 

As a rule, three battalions of the infantry, five squad- 
rons of cavalry, and two or three artillery divisions form a 
regimeut. Every two or three regiments form a brigade. 
Every two or three brigades form a division. Generally 
two brigades of infantry and one of cavalry form a division.' 

There is no fixed rule as to the number and distribution 
of officers ; but usually each company, squadron, and battery, 
has a captain, a first lieutenant, two or three second lieu- 
tenants, and the ' requisite ' number of under-officers. 

> Only in the Body>Gaaid and Royal Saxon Corps are there entire 
cavalry diirisions. 

344 Germany, Present and Past. 

At the head of every battalion and artillery division is 
a staflF officer ; at the head of every regiment a superior 
staff officer. A brigade is, as a rule, commanded by a 
major-general, a division by a lieutenant-general, and an 
army corps by a general. 

Besides the divisional formation of the army, it has 
also a territorial division. This military division forms 
the basis of the organisation of the Landwehr and the 
supply. The Empire is divided into seventeen army-corps 
districts, over which the generals in command exercise 
chief territorial jurisdiction in all military matters. 

The army-<5orps districts fall into divisional and 
brigade sub-districts; the latter again, according to 
extent and population, into Landwehr, company, and 
battalion districts. 

The army articulation corresponds with the territorial 
division, from which it is recruited and supplied. Thus 
each army corps, each division, and each infantry brigade, 
has its own district^ from which, as a rule, its men are 
drawn, and it is completed on mobilisation. Conse- 
quently the young men of a village find themselves 
together in the drill-ground and in barrack — a provision 
of the highest moral advantage. The young trooper who 
misconducts himself does so in the presence of his com- 
panions from childhood, and he knows that the report of 
him will reach his home. On the battle-field he is not 
among strangers, and if shot, a comrade will bear his last 
words to his native village, to his mother and his Schatz. 

Over all the land, officers are stationed forming mili- 
tary boards — the Divizion-Commando, the Brigade-Com- 
mando, and the Landwehr-Gommando. In time of peace 
the divisional commander has the oversight in his district, 
also care for the discipline and knowledge of the where- 
abouts of the men on furlough. He is charged with the 

The Army. 345 

supervision of the Landwehr, and with all preparations for 
mobilisation on a moment's notice. 

The Landwehrbezirks-Commando has the following 
duties : — 

1. The control of those on furlough in that district. 

2. The preparation of all needed for mobilisation, and 
the formation of the Landwehr battalion. 

3. The care of the clothing and arming of the Land- 
wehr battalion, and the supply of ammunition. 

4. Provision for recruiting, and for invalids. 

In time of war, the field army is engaged in active 
operations against the enemy, and the reserve garrisons the 
fortresses and keeps the lines of communication, and as 
they are drawn upon to fill the gaps made by war in the 
ranks of the field army, their places are supplied from the 

With this outline of the army organisation in his head, 
the reader will be able to follow me into particulars. 
Unless he be a military man, he may be disposed to say 
with Faust, * Ich bin des trocknen Tons nun satt ; ' but I 
hope that the details will prove more interesting than the 
outline. I would not advise him to omit to follow me, if he 
would acquire a just idea of that most remarkable creation 
of the Prussian spirit of organisation and discipline — the 
German army. It is to Fatherland what the Pyramids are 
to Egypt, Paris to France, and the Metropolitan fiailway 
to England, — ^a typical creation of the national genius. 

Let us begin with the recruit, and go through the 
course with him. Every year, in the month of February, 
a circular is issued by the War Ministry indicating : — 

1. The number of recruits required for each infantry 
battalion and each cavalry regiment. 

2. The number of assistants and workmen required for 
each corps. 

346 Gernia7iy, Preseni and Past. 

3. The days on which each corps is to receive its re- 

In every district lists are kept of the men in it and 
their ages ; and every young man of twenty has to present 
himself before the local Board. There is an excellent 
little book to be had for a few pence, ^ which puts in a 
simple form before the recruits their duties and what the 
law requires of them. Every man is Wehrpflicktig^ i.e. 
bound to serve, yet all are not required to serve. The 
standing army is legally fixed in number, at a per-centage 
of the population. It is not therefore every man who is 
called to arms. When more recruits present themselves 
than are required, lot decides which are to enter military 

But certain are exempt ; such as young men who are 
the sole support of aged parents, or helpless brothers and 
sisters; the only sons of landed proprietors, tradesmen^ 
&c., incapacitated by age or illness from managing their 
estates or shop. 

A special arrangement is made with those destined for 
a learned profession, which shall be noticed presently. 
Deformity, excessive physical infirmity, short sight, a 
height under I™ 70, &c., incapacitate a man from serving. 

The recruits are allowed to express their wishes as to 
the sort of service they desire to enter, infantry, cavalry, 
chasseurs, artillery, &c., and their wishes are considered as 
far as is possible. When the number has been made up, the 
commandants of the different regiments determine by lot 
which are to serve in their respective contingents. There 
are, however, a few exceptions made to this impartial dis- 
tribution. Men of and over 1"82 may be sent to the first 
regiment of the Guards. The chasseur {Jdger) and sharp- 

> Wnrzer : KatcchUmm fur die deutschcn MiUtarpfliehten. Leipx. 

The Army. 347^ 

shooter regiments are recruited almost exclusively from 
the agents of the Government and mediatised princes in the 
service of the forests. This recruiting is imder the special 
direction of the inspector of the chasseurs and sharpshooters. 
The chasseurs are no favourites in the German army. It 
is thought by Uie officers that all the privates should receive 
a like training in rifle practice. But the governments 
favour these regiments^ whence they draw their servants 
for the charge of their forests. The organisation is alto-^ 
gether peculiar : it forms an hereditary class of foresters, 
who furnish the army with professional sharpshooters, and 
this corps of rangers in turn supplies the State with men 
devoted to its interests in the forests. 

The distribution of recruits is made without regard to 
their social positions. Well-dressed sons of citizens^ 
peasant lads, and even ragged youths jostle each other^ 
But there are not many members of the upper classes 
found in the crowd ; for these young men, having received 
a superior education, are allowed to enter the army as 
volunteers, or are in the military colleges, with the inten- 
tion of making the army their profession. 

As the men come to their regiment, they are sub- 
mitted to medical inspection. Those deemed unfit for 
service are sent back to their districts, and the Landwehr 
officers therein are bound within a stated period to supply 
their places with fresh recruits. The sifting out and re« 
placing of the unsuitable occupies about a fortnight. A 
month after the reception of the recruits, a report on the 
appearance, phyeical condition, size, &c., of the men is 
sent in from all the regiments to the Staff; and their 
reports are forwarded to the Emperor. 

The commandant of each regiment distributes the 
recruits in their battalions on the day of their arrival. 
The tallest men go into the first battalions, the smaller 

348 Germany, Present and Past. 

among the fusileers. With us the reverse takes place 
They are then subjected to a second medical inspection. 
The first was solely to ascertain if they were physically 
soimd, the second to ensure that they are not labouring 
under any contagious disease. Then they are all bathed 
and clad in uniform. Each man makes up a parcel of 
his ordinary clothes and sends them home at the end of 
a month, when it is definitely decided that he remains in 
the regiment. The rest of the first day is spent in in- 
stalling the recruits in their chambers. Their money is 
taken from them, and placed with the commandant, 
but each man is allowed to keep two thalers, or six shil- 
lings. The object is to prevent inexperienced youths being 
led to squander their little fimds at the instigation of older 
soldiers, naturally disposed to regale themselves at the 
expense of their new comrades. The recruits are next given 
out combs, brushes, a looking-glass, rassors, &c., for which 
they have to pay a moderate price, or it is deducted firom 
their wage. Then their hair is cut, and they are vaccinated. 
In the first month they all take the oath to the colours. 

Each company receives annually from forty to fifty 
recruits. Each dormitory is under the supervision of a 
non-commissioned officer, appointed to be instructor to the 
recruits by the commandant of the company. The recruits 
are also generally broken into groups of two or three under 
an older soldier, who is supposed to act towards them the 
part of an elder brother. This plan has been found very 
advantageous for developing feelings of mutual friendship 
and comradeship ; linking together into one all the mem- 
bers of the great military family. A few days after his 
incorporation in the regiment, each recruit is required to 
draw up a short biography of himself, as frank and com- 
plete as possible. This he submits to his captain, who 
thereby is made acquainted with the antecedents of his 

The Army, 349 

men^ and is able to judge of their intelligence and the 
d^pree of their education. Those who cannot write give 
their account viva voce. But the number of illiterate is 
very small. 

In 1877, among the soldiers of the Crerman army under 
colours and in the reserve — 

Of Pruas^ soldiers, among S6,448, 5,579 could neither read nor write^ 

Bavarian „ 17,401, only 1 „ ,y 

Saxon „ 7,934, but 17 „ ,» 

Wurtemberg „ 6,066 „ 1 „ „ 

Baden „ 4,931 none „ „ 

Hessian „ 2,826 „ „ „ 

What has been said of recruiting for the infantry 
applies equally to the cavalry, with only slight dififerences^ 
on which we need not tarry. Cavalry and infantry alike 
have attached to them a body of workmen of two sorts : 
the one, * Oekonomie-Handwerker,' are not reckoned as in 
the ranks, and do no military service ; the others, among 
them saddlers, smiths, tailors, shoemakers, &c., form part 
of the effective fighting body. 

Besides the men sent from the contingent, the cavalry 
regiments receive volunteers for one or four years. The 
first are few on account of the cost ; they have to find 
their own horses, accoutrements, keep, &c. The volunteers 
of four years are, on the contrary, very numerous. In 
consideration of the extra year for which they volunteer^ 
they are let off two years in the Landwehr. These volun- 
teers are received much more cordially than the recruits 
firom the ordinary contingent ; because the cavalry officers 
are well aware that three years is not long enough 
for the training of an effective horsensoldier. Con- 
sequently captains do their utmost to draw as many 
volunteers as they can to their squadrons, and thereby 
reduce the number of ordinary recruits. From thirty-five 

350 Germany, Present and Past. 

to forty-five men annually enter each squadron. For 
regiments of the Guard, Cuirassiers, and Uhlans, the mini- 
mum height is 1"^ 67 ; for the light cavalry, dragoons, and 
hussars, 1°^ 62. 

In the recruiting of the Crerman army the commandant 
of the regiment is the axle of the system. He knows the 
effective force his corps must have on a peace and on a 
war footing, and he is bound to be always ready to have 
under control the number of men required. When neces- 
sary he must apply to the Staff of his corps-dHarrnM for 
the nimiber of recruits he requires ; he must winnow out 
the imserviceable men and call for others to replace them, 
•or fill their places with volunteers. This is only possible 
with recruital which is territorial, by which system each 
^orps has at hand a store from which to draw at will, and 
which is being incessantly supplied; so that there is 
always ready at a moment's notice all the material in 
men and equipment for completing the corps and giving 
it its full effective force in times of war and peace. 

In most European armies, when the annual period forthe 
commencement of instruction comes roimd, there appear 
whole shoals of general orders and directions, often contra- 
dictory, minutely regulating the kind and duration of the 
different exercises, not during the month only, but even by 
day and hour. Nothing of this sort exists in the Crerman 
army. To the commandant of the company is left the 
entire responsibility for the instruction of his men, in 
what mode and at what hour he sees fit. His initiative 
has no other limits than the obligation imposed on him 
of presenting his soldiers ready for inspection to his 
superior officers at fixed times, and to have them trained 
to a certain standard by those times. The commandant 
of the battalion has no right to interfere with the in- 
struction of the companies that compose his battalion. 

The Amiy, 351 

All he is at liberty to do is to note to their captains such 
deficiencies or irregularities as attract his eye. He has no 
power to alter the course fixed by a commander of a 
company. Later, he, in his turn, instructs his battalion, 
and becomes wholly responsible for its instruction as a 
tactical unity. All he can exact is, that the companies, 
when they pass under his hand, shall prove thoroughly in- 
structed in all rudimentary branches of drill and discipline. 

A like freedom is accorded to every officer charged 
with every branch whatsoever of instruction. All Oerman 
officers, from the lieutenant to the general, are unanimous 
in regarding this liberty as an essential and indispensable 
condition of success, not only as concerns the instruction 
of the troops, but also in all that affects military success. 
For it produces emulation among the officers of every 
grade, it draws out their powers and teaches them prompt- 
ness and observation. Moreover, it is the best possible 
means of teaching an officer the details of the service. He 
learns as much as does the soldier whom he is teaching. 

In the whole military hierarchy there is not an office 
more important than that of commandant of the company, 
squadron, or battery — that is, as concerns the instruction 
of the troops. And as a capable officer is put in that 
post, he is given plenty of elbow-room. Not only does he 
instruct the men of his squadron, but, by the position he 
occupies, he alone is in a position to form among the 
officers of his company a successor capable of replacing 
himself. If this initiative freedom accorded to each strikes 
a foreign observer, not less does the minutely methodical 
and progressive system with which the instruction is 
pursued, not from year's end to year's end only, but in 
each particular period of the year. Experience has esta- 
blished the rules and formulated the series of exercises 
appropriate to the exigencies of war, and to the character 

352 Germany, Present and Past. 

of the nation and the habits of the country. These are 
never interfered with. Every one knows his part and 
fulfils it without hesitation. 

The instruction of a German regiment advances with 
calnmess and regularity, precisely like that in a public 
school, in which with each new year there is an influx of 
fresh scholars to recommence the lessons learned by their 
predecessors, now moved to a higher form. 

The drill, to the very gymnastics, is not left to a non« 
conmiissioned officer alone. The recruits are, indeed, put 
through their facings, and taught to turn head over heels, 
and climb a pole, by a ' Gefreite ' or lance-corporal, but the 
lieutenant is present throughout the instruction. The posi- 
tion of a sub-lieutenant in the German army is no sinecure^ 
He has a great deal of hard and veiy wearisome work, and 
he is kept a great part of the day at it ; he has to cuff and 
lick the awkward squad into shape, and is himself the 
constant butt of reprimands from his superior officers* 
More of this shortly. 

The year of instruction in the infiemtry comprehends 
six periods : — 

1. Preparatory period : — From the end of the grand 
manoeuvres and the dismissal of the reserve to the arrival 
of the recruits; that is, from the second half of Sep- 
tember to the beginning of November in the Guards, to 
the beginning of December in the Line. 

2. Period of individual instruction of the recruits : — 
Till the middle of February in the Guards, till the be- 
ginning of March in the Line. 

3. Period of inspection, or Spring exercises, to the 
middle of May. 

4. Period of service in the country, to the beginning 
of August. 

5. Period of autumnal exercises, to the end of August.. 

The Army. 353 

6. Period of grand manoeuvTes, to the second half of 

1. 'Prffpa/raiory Period. — The first thing the captain 
has to do is to choose and prepare the instructors to whoM 
the recruits are to be confided, for on this depends almost 
exclusively the success of the instruction. And as, on 
account of the shortness of the duration of active service, 
it is difficult to have a sufficient number of experienced 
non-commissioned officers,' their preparation absorbs all the 
care and time of the commandant of the company during 
this period. In each company one lieutenant, three or four 
non-commissioned officers, and six or nine lance-corporals 
are detailed for this purpose. 

The captain confides the post of instructo^to the 
lieutenant he considers most apt for this charge. This 
lieutenant directs the instruction of the recruits under 
the immediate eye of the captain, who, however, leaves 
him the utmost latitude, on the same principle that runs 
through the whole service — ^the development of the in- 
dividual powers by according liberty to the utmost extent 
possible with the maintenance of necessary system and 

As a rule, the lieutenants set a high and honourable 
example before their pupils. Each officer-instructor is 
made entirely responsible for the men confided to him. 
He has the surveillance over them, and sees that they are 
not brutalised by older soldiers. He serves as a check 
upon the non-commissioned officers under him, and prevents 
them from tyrannising over the recruits. At the same time 
he stimulates their zeal for the service, and puts a stop to 
violence and vulgarity on their part. A very sincere 
attachment often grows up between the lieutenant and his 

' I use the tenn * non-commusioned officers ' for those entitled in 
Gennan < Unter-Officiereny' i.e. Feldwebel and Yice-Feldwebel. 

VOL. I. A A 

354 Germany, Present and Past. 

men, and the sense of responsibility of setting them a good 
example has a high moral effect upon him. 

In order to be able to acquit himself of his duty as in- 
structor, the lieutenant is obliged to prepare for it diligently 
during the ^ preparatory period.' The captain lends him 
his aid, advises him, but never personally charges himself 
with his instruction. 

The captain chooses one or two experienced non-com- 
missioned officers and gives them as assistants one or two 
younger soldiers; by this means experienced instructors 
are trained for the following year. 

The lieutenants receive every day two hours' theoretical 
instruction from the commandant on the principles of 
manoeuvres, the theory and rules of musketry, on the 
discipline of the service, the history of ^'^ regiment, and 
the outlines of military legislation. The commandant 
has also, during this period, to see that all the undress 
uniforms for the recruits are clean and in good condition, 
and that the dormitories are fresh whitewashed and 
furnished with every necessary. 

During this preparatory period also the non-com- 
missioned officers learn to conduct patrols, make little 
reconnaissances, and practically resolve certain tactical 
problems. The officers are also then engaged on their 
tactical studies, under the direction of the commandant of 
the battalion. 

At the same time the pioneers are instructed in sapping. 

2. Period of IndimchiaZ Instruction* — The day of 
the arrival of the recruits is, undoubtedly, the most im- 
portant in the year to the commandant, who is naturally 
jealous to maintain the reputation of his company. 

The course of instruction to the recruits lasts from 
twelve to fourteen weeks. In those weeks the country 
lout has to be trained to serve in the ranks. In twelve 

The Army. 355 

weeks the raw recruit has to learn the regulations of 
fighting in scattered order, the handling of his arms, how 
to shoot, gymnastics, and, in a word, everything that is 
necessary to enable him to take his place in the ranks, 
go through his exercises with the company, and do all 
that is required of a soldier in time of peace. This con-* 
stitutes ^Duty State,' as G-ermans understand it. To 
attain this result the commandant of the company has 
to exert all his energies and bring all his experience to 
bear to elaborate a plan and sequence of drill and study 
which is to be followed. 

Here again occurs a feature peculiar to the German 
system, and altogether admirable. Extreme attention is 
paid to explaining to the recruit the reason for every 
order given. The object is, to educate the man's intelli- 
gence, to make of him not a machine only, but an intelli- 
gent machine, capable of judging and acting for himself 
under extraordinary circumstances. This is precisely 
what was wanting in the Russian soldiers in the late war. 
They were machines, they went where they were ordered, 
but they had no judgment when individual judgment was 
wanted. In that the Turk was his superior. But among 
the Guards under Skobeleff it was otherwise. They had 
been taught on the German method, and the results be- 
came evident directly they appeared before Plevna. 

I must again repeat, no detailed scheme of instruction is 
issued by authority. In all orders extant, the only require- 
ment is that a certain specified point of training shall be 
reached : how that is brought about is left entirely fi:ee. 
Full liberty is accorded to the commandant, and his 
superiors absolutely refrain from any interference, and from 
all appearance of limiting or touching his independence. 

Consequently there is great variety. In a company of 
recruits which I observed in 1877-8, the hours of drill 



Germany, Present and Past, 

were from eight to eleven A.M., and from two to four p.m., 
and there was one hour's instruction in military subjects 
in the evening. For the first fortnight or three weeks 
from the date of joining, the recruit was exercised %6ldy 
in gymnastics. 

Most captains arrange the course of instruction by 
weeks, with a programme for each, and leave the details 
of execution to the lieutenant. The lieutentnt in turn 
makes verbal recommendations to the non-commissioned 
officers, taking care to allow them also a certain amount 
of freedom. 

The recruits are under constant surveillance — ^to such 
an extent that, during the first six weeks of their service^ 
no young soldier can leave the barrack without being 
attended by a Grefreite. This is a rule of some importance, 
especially in large towns, where inexperienced country 
youths might otherwise be easily drawn into conduct in- 
compatible with honour and respect for their uniform. 

The following is a table of a day's employment in the 
fourth week after a recruit has joined : — 






9.0 to 9.30 

Exercise in point- 




7.30 to 8.30 

Theoretical instrac- 

9.30 „ 11.30 








2.0 to 3.15 . 


6.45 to 7.0 . 

Instruction on caUs 

a.l5„4.0 . 



4.0 „ 4.30 . 


7.0 . 


5.30 ,,6.30 . 

Instruction on 


9.0 . 


ing arms clean, &c. 

Instruction in skirmishing begins the second week, 
and occupies an hour and a half every day. During the 
first six weeks the non-commissioned officers exercise their 

The Army, 357 

gioupB in obeying the bugle-calls^ which are sounded by 
the lieutenant at a distance. After the seventh week, and 
tiU the tenth, this exercise is repeated only every other 
day. In the eleventh week, the lieutenant assembles all 
the recruits of the company in one detachment : each of 
these groups constitutes a platoon formed in two ranks. 
The three platoons are ranged one behind the other, and 
thus a little colmnn is formed, which the lieutenant exer- 
cises as if it were a complete company. The men by 
this means get an idea of the relations of open order and 
compact order, and of the movements and formations 
peculiar to the latter. It is the best possible preparation 
for the school of field exercise, to which they pass in the 
thirteenth or fourteenth week after their incorporation. 

After the preliminary instruction in pointing, in the 
fifth week the recruits are given a little gun (Jdemes 
0€wehr)j which allows of good practice at fifty paces. 
But the moment when they begin at the butts with their 
regular weapons is not fixed. Sometimes men are in 
^ Duty State ' who have only fired ten rounds, whilst others 
may have fired forty. 

In the evenings the men are taught by a tailor how to 
repair their clothes ; during this instruction, or after it, 
they are exercised in bugle-calls by the lance-corporal. 

Theoretical instruction is given by the lieutenant 
once a week during the first four weeks, thrice in the next 
four, and thrice in the last four. The rule is not absolute, 
and there is no regulation-book from which the teaching 
is given. The instruction is oral, and catechetical. 

The accompanying table will show the training to which 
recruits are subjected during the fourteen weeks before 
they are in ^ Duty State.^ It must be imderstood that 
this is no regulation table. The arrangement will be dif- 
ferent in every company. 


Germany y Present and Past. 

Table ofJBseereue$ ^e. pf 








Drin, and Instructon 

Noh - Com. Qffieert. — Saluting; 
positions of a soldier without 
arms ; forming line ; half -fac- 
ing whilst marching or at the 

Non - Com. Officers. — Saluting ; 

position of soldier without 

arms ; slow marching. 
Lance Corp. — Presenting arms. 

Non- Com. Officers. — Position of 
a soldier under arms ; slow and 
quick marching. 

Lance Corp. — Presenting arms. 

Nen-Com. Officers. — Slow march- 
ing without arms; quick march. 

Lance Corp. — Forming line on 
rear companies. 

Non- Com. Officers. — Quick march 
with arms, defiling to drum. 

Lance Corp. — Half -face in close 
files, forming line on rear com- 
pany ; charge with bayonet. 

Ifo9i.-Com. Officers. — Double quick 

Idtnce Corp. — Manual exercises; 

forming for attack and in 


Management of Anns, and 

JPfon- Com. Officers. — Aiming 
with gun on rest. 

Lance Corp. — Loading. 

Nim- Com^ Officers. — As first 

Lance Corp. — Manual exer- 

ydn-Com. Officers. — Aim at { 
picket with hand sup- 

Lance Corp. — Manual ex- 
ercise, and movements 
executed with gan« 

Non- Com, Officers. — ^Aim at 

Lance Corp. — Gymnastics 

with arms. 

Non' Com. Officers. — Aim at 
picket ; practice with 
small guns at white 

Ncn^Com. Ojjfficers. — Aim 

without supports 
Lamoe Corp. — Gynmastics 

with arms. 

Tlu Army. 


Recruits during JPovrteen Weeks. 

Theoretical InstmctioQ and 



'With Bayonet 


lAeia. — Military duties 
and spirit ; the laws of 

Easy move- 

First series. 

Non-CJom, Officers, — Piar- 
ticolazB of service and 
duties of a soldier. 

lAtfut. — Ae first week. 

A>»- Com, Officers, — Com- 
position of a regiment ; 
distinctive bodies. 

Without arms, dis- 
perse, advance, re- 
tire, quick, slow, 
and as ordered. 


Second series. 

Lieut. — Aa first week. 

Non - Com, Q/??cw*. — 
Honours and marks of 
respect ; military sub- 
ordination ; conduct 
daring service ; rules 
of detachment; mili- 
tary bearing. 

Without arms, 

Face about, 
and fencing 

Third series. 

Lieut. — Bepetition of 

Hon - Com. Officers. — 

Begulations on lodging 

and pay. 

Armed, and to 
bugle-call, repeti- 
tion of movements 
of second and 
third weeks. 


days the 

Lieut, and Non-Ofm, 
Officers. — Instruction 
in presence of com- 
mandant ; internal 
economy, guard, cam- 
paigning, mounting 
and unmounting of 

Armed; change of 
front ; Echelon, 
in rank and to 



Lieut.—Theory of ball 

Ifon - Omn. Q^^<. — 

Service of guard. 

Firing, stationary 
and marching. 

Double for- 
ward and to 



Germany y Present and Past. 

Table of Emereiiet ^c. iffBeerwU 


Drill, and Instrocton 









Non-Com, Offie&n, — Marching to 

Lcmce Corp, — Manual ezercisey in 
position and whilst marching. 

Non-Corn, Officers, — Manual ex- 
ercise whilst marching ; gronpe 
exercised together, forming 
lines on file ; changing front. 

Ltmco Corp, — Mounting guard. 

Non - Com, Offieorg, — Bayonet 
charge; filing off; forming line 
to the front by files, and on 
non - oomnussioned officers 
placed in front. 

lAeut, — Gombined manoeuvres ; 

half-turns, wheeling lines to 

front and rear. 
Nofi-Com, Officor», — Forming for 

attack and in square; flank 


JAeut, — Oombined manoBuvres ; 

charging ; lines for attack and 

in square; line formations; 

flank movements. 
Non- Com, Offieen, — ^Wheeling on 

the march; groups manceuvring 


lAovt, — Combined manosuvres ; 
wheeling on the march ; oblique 



Management of Anns, and 

Nott - Com, Offioan, — As 
sixth week. 

JJmce Corp, — ^As sixth 

Non- Com, Officers, — Aim 
from the knee; target 

Lance Corp, — As sixth 

Non^ Com, Officers. — Aim 

from the knee. 
LanM Corp, — ^Aim on the 


Non- Com, Officers, — Aim 
lying down. 

Aiming; repetition. 


The Army. 


dwring Jowrteen TF^^— (Continued.) 

TtaeoretiGBl LoBtrnction and 

lAeut. — Theory of rile 
practice once a week ; 
twice a week service 
of gnaid. 

Non-Com, Qfficert, — Ser- 
vice of guard. 

lAeut, — Same as seventh 

NonrCom. Qfficert. — Same 
as sevenUi week. 

lAevt. — Same as seventh 

Nmii-Coni. Qfficen, — In- 
stmction on arms and 
on service of guard in 
presence of comman- 

JUe^. — Instruction on 

Nan- Com. Qfficert, — ^In- 
struction on arms. 

lAeut. — Instruction on 

Non - Com. Offieerg, — 
Same, in presence of 
commandant, who 
questions the men. 

Lieut, a/lid Non^Com. 
Officers. — Bepetition 
of first and fifth weeks. 

lAevt. and Non^ Com. 
Officers. — Repetition 
of service of guard. 

lAeut. and No^Com. 
Officers. — Bepetition 
of lessons on arms. 


Whole company 
united ; repetition 
of second to fifth 
weeks ; advance 
in groups, the 
whole company. 

Repetition in com- 
pany of exercises 
second to seventh 
weeks ; rallying 
in square. 


Bayonet attack, 
halt, and re-form 
in line. 

Salvos in four ranks 
deep ; attack in 

Formation in 
square, and move- 
ments in square. 



'^ith Bayonet 











days the 







362 Germany^ PresetU and Past. 

3. Period of Spring Exerdaea and Inspectioru — 
The period of individual instruction passed, an inspection 
of the recruits is made by the commandant of the r^- 
ment^ after which he passes them into the company 

This inspection, which takes place about the end of 
February, is one of the most important days in the military 
life, and it usually excites the liveliest interest, not only 
among the officers of each regiment, but throughout the 
garrison, so that for some time nothing else is talked about 
than the results obtained by this or that captain, the 
merits of this or that plan of instruction, and the quality 
of the men about to pass. The inspection takes place 
with great solenmity. All the highest military officers 
in the garrison attend in full uniform. The men are 
presented to the colonel by the lieutenant of the company. 
The inspection is in two parts. One has to do with the 
manoeuvres, and takes place on an appointed day. The 
other, which is an examination into the theoretical know- 
ledge of the recruit, his gymnastic acquirements, &c., 
takes place as suits the convenience of the colonel. The 
review of the recruits is minute and thorough. They are 
put through all the evolutions : the cadence of their march- 
ing is taken by the watch * The inspection of fifty remits 
occupies two hours. When it is over, the colonel addresses 
a few words of encouragement to the young soldiers, and 
congratulates them, if they deserve it. 

The inspection over, the recruits cease to form a class 
apart, they are admitted into the ranks of the company, 
and take part with the older soldiers in all their duties 
and drill. It is not that their education is supposed to 
be terminated, but it is supposed that they have arrived 
at a point at which the example of older soldiers and contact 

1 Quick march is 112 to the minute. 

The Army. 363 

with them, along with the varied exercises of the Spring 
period, will complete their military education. 

During the two preceding periods a great strain haa 
been put on the older soldiers. Many have been detailed 
as instructors, and all the duties of guard have devolved 
on the rest ; so that every soldier has often to be on guard 
once in three days. Now the companies are filled, and 
the turn of each man comes only once in ten or twelve 
days. The captain has now all his men at his disposal for 
company evolutions. 

He proceeds at once with the reorganisation of his com* 
pany. The place of each soldier is assigned him accord-^ 
ing to his height ; and the whole company is divided into 
three platoons, formed in double rank, each of which con* 
stitutes a section commanded by a non-commissioned 
officer. The lance-corporals, orderlies, &c., are distributed 
evenly through the sections, and each is given charge of an 
equal number of new soldiers. 

During this period the service is more varied. The 
Spring exercises comprehend company and battaUon driU, 
and the evolutions of the regiment and brigade. More* 
over, target-practice is now seriously undertaken. It is 
unnecessary to say that individual exercises, gymnastics, 
fencing, &c., are not given up, but they take a subordinate 

Each company is divided into three distinct groups ; 
the first composed of men of superior military aptitude, 
the last, of men exceptionally clumsy or stupid. The 
second group is the most numerous. The exercises of each 
group are calculated to meet its special requirements. The 
men in the third group have their deficiencies plainly 
pointed out to them, that they may make eflforts to remedy 
their defects. Every Saturday a transfer is made from 
one group to another, according to progress made. But 

364 Germany^ Present and Past, 

inversely, also, it may happen that a man is degraded into 
an inferior group, if he shows himself incapable of keeping 
pace with those with whom he has been associated. No 
regard is had to time of service, all that is looked to is 
the qualification of each. 

During the war of 1870-71, the importance of the 
company as a tactical unity was made clear. Since that 
date the German captains have redoubled their efforts to 
give their companies the highest attainable suppleness and 
cohesion. But in this, again, there is no regulation drill ; 
each captain is left to follow his own inspiration and ex- 
perience. Company exercises are generally preceded by 
military promenades into the country, to accustom the 
men to long marches, and familiarise them with the prin- 
cipal rules and precautions to be observed on them. They 
are usually marched in columns by sections, drums and 
bugles at the head, but not in close rank. On the way 
the soldiers are given an explanation of the object and 
utility of such and such regulations, and every occasion 
is taken to show them what consequences the neglect of 
these precautions would entail. When the march is long, 
it is interrupted by halts, and the captain orders the men 
to pile arms, and then gives them instructions on bivouack- 
ing. The men on the first march are fully eqiupped with 
bread-pouch, can, and knapsack, the latter empty. After 
a few marches the saucepan is added, then the great-coat 
and stew-pan. 

The company drill takes place on the Exercirplatz, a 
level space to be found in every garrison town, not within 
rails, but completely open to all the world, and a fiivourite 
lounge of nursery-maids. Now begin the Schulexerciren, 
on which Crerman military authorities lay great stress. 
Their object is to bring bodies of men into the most perfect 
control by their officers. The men are put through all the 

The Army, 365 

regulation forms. But this is by no means all. The 
captains during the course of the Schulexerciren — the 
regulation exercises — order at times movements absolutely 
contrary to those indicated by the regulation. The advan- 
tage of this method is^ that the men are kept on the alert, 
and learn to disentangle themselves, and form with admir- 
able rapidity ; and they acquire the conviction, that what- 
ever the order given, it must be promptly and precisely 
obeyed. As soon as all formations are familiar to the 
men, they are taught to pass from one to the other at a 
double, and without following any regulation order. The 
object sought is to obtain the instantaneous and mechanical 
execution of a movement, at the mere word of command. 
All formations and principles relative to dispersed order 
are taught with special care, always on the Exercirplatz, 
that is to say, without regard to the nature of the ground. 
It is only when a company is perfectly master of its regu- 
lation formations, that it passes to these exercises applied 
to the actual condition of the country. 

These exercises last from five to six weeks. Not a 
movement is made without its mechanism and its tactical 
aim being clearly explained to the private soldier. During 
this initiatory process, the progress is slow, but when ac- 
quired, there follows extreme rapidity of manoduvring^ 
commands succeeding one another without relaxation, 
executed at a run ; regularity, the cadence of the steps, 
rectification of line, are strictly exacted when the movement 
is accomplished. Such is the method adopted ; and, the 
result is that the company acquires extraordinary supple- 
ness, and the attention of every soldier is kept on the 
alert. For often the soldiers have no sooner taken three 
or four steps towards the formation that has been ordered, 
when a new conmiand is given. 

After the inspection of the companies, battalion drill 

366 Germany, Present and Past. 

follows, and occupies from three to four weeks. These 
exercises take place thrice a week, and occupy about three 
hours on each occasion. The other three days of the 
week are devoted to company drill. The men are also 
practised at judging distances, fencing, and at the targets. 
When the battalion review is satisfactorily over, regimental 
evolutions follow during a fortnight, on alternate days. 
After the regimental exercises, followed by an inspection, 
come the brigade exercises, occupying about a week. 
Then the brigades are inspected, and by that time, the 
period of spring exercises has come to an end, and has to 
make way for field exercises. 

The war of 1870-1 produced such an impression on 
military officers, that the instruction of the troops has 
become, if possible, more practical than ever. In all their 
exercises we have the repetition of a battle in all its forms. 
The memorable day of Saint-Privat, especially, and the 
enormous losses to which the infantry were subjected in 
traversing that bare plain under a murderous fire, has 
greatly contributed to determine the direction of the 
present instruction of the troops.' 

It is a matter of principle in these manoeuvres never 
to repeat an order. He who has given one, waits patiently 
its execution. And if a subordinate hesitates, or makes a 
mistake, his superior officer is content to point it out to 
him when the critique takes place at the end of the 
instruction. It is thought of the utmost importance to 
allow him the means of correcting himself, of finding out 
his own mistake and remedying it as best he may, without 
the intervention of his superior. Again, I must repeat, 
the end aimed at constantly and unflag^;ingly in the 

> See on these regulation exercises Tellenbach : Die Ihitih «. die 
Awhildungniethoda d. Prwsnsohen ExeroUregJemenU f, die Infanierie- 
Berlin, 1876. 

The Army. 367 

German axmy, is to develop the individual initiative in 
every officer in every degree, from the general-in-chief to 
the sub-lieutenant. A Grerman general says on this par- 
ticular : — 

^ Although we have a perfect right at all moments to 
criticise the proceedings of our inferiors, yet we abstain, 
on principle, from doing this, even when we hear them 
express opinions in their critiques contrary to our own. 
No two men in this world see a thing from the same point 
of view, and we hold that^ before we can judge of a system, 
it is necessary to wait till we can estimate the results it 
produces. When the day of inspection by us arrives, then 
we formulate our requirements and pass our opinion. But, 
above everjrthing, our object is to develop in our officers 
initiative, and an interest in their profession. And we 
believe there is no better means of attaining this than by 
giving them full and entire liberty to follow what course 
they please, so long as the end be gained. Besides, by 
listening to their criticism, we obtain the precious elements 
of appreciation of the value of each.' 

Yoimg English officers take but a languid interest in 
their profession. They go through their duties perfunc- 
torily ; but it is a rare exception to find one eager and 
interested in the science of war. I have quoted in a 
former chapter the remark made to me by a G-erman 
schoolmaster : ^ Your English boys play over their 
lessons, and work at their play. I rarely get a pupil 
from your country who takes any interest in his studies.' 
It is much the same in our army. Our young officers do 
not take up their career as a business, but as a task. It 
is the reverse in Germany. Everything connected with 
his profession excites the liveliest interest in the lieutenant. 
His library is stocked with military books, he devours the 
last new monograph in military science with more eager- 

368 Germany, Present and Past. 

ness than the English officer manifests for Ouida's latest 
novel. The German press teems with books of this sort, 
and publishers would not undertake them unless they had 
a large sale. I have counted eighty-five works, exclusive 
of magazines and papers devoted to military matters, which 
have been published during the three months, April, May, 
and June, 1878. Can the English press show a quarter of 
this number in the whole year ? And here I may add my 
opinion of the yoimg German officer, as he is a social 
and moral element in every city. I have the very highest 
opinion of him for his integrity, honour, devotion to his 
profession, and to the men put under his charge. I do 
not believe a more worthy, conscientious set of officers is to 
be found in any army. That they are not always what 
we understand in England by gentlemen, is also true: 
they are drawn from the burger class, and inherit 
its want of breed.* And if anything could reconcUe an 
Englishman to the idea of universal military service, it 
would be the conduct of men and officers in a garrison 
town. The three years' service has a mighty educational 
effect on the country clown. It sharpens his intelligence, 
polishes his manner, widens his ideas, teaches him the 
advantages of organisation, and the necessity for discipline, 
and he returns to his native village, improved physically, 
mentally, and often morally as well. 

4. TerwA of Field Exerdaes. — With summer begin 
the exercises applying what has been already learned to 
the exigencies of &cts, as in real warfare. For this pur- 
pose, the soldiers are taken out into the country, sometimes 

> This applies to the infantry and artillery. The cavaliy are le* 
cruited almost exdusively from the gentry. A few of noble blood are 
to be fomid in the infantry; but very few. In the army, as elsewhere, 
class distinction intervenes injarionsly. When I speak of ' gentleman- 
liness,* I do not mean only in manner, but in mind. I have been 
surprised to find even officers high in rank incapable of seeing what is 

The Army. 369 

for the whole day, sometimes for twenty-four hours, and 
even more. They are taught to adapt their movements 
to the nature of the country, to take on the march all the 
precautions necessary in time of war, to execute small 
manoeuvres, attack and defend positions, surmount ob- 
stacles, bivouack, also to learn sapping, swimming, and 
practice at targets. Up to the middle of June these 
exercises are carried out in companies, after that in 
battalions, and then in regiments, and with troops of all 
arms combined. 

Modem warfare has proved the great importance of 
these exercises: consequently, the greater part of the 
summer is placed at the disposal of the commandant of a 
company for carrying them out. We will take very briefly 
the regulations governing them. 

1. Patrols and Outpost Duty. — Although this branch 
of service specially belongs to the cavalry, it is, however, 
made a matter of seriotis attention in the infantry. Before 
sending out a company, outposts are exercised near the 
barracks on the drill-ground, so that all may see the object 
sought and the general disposition. The soldiers thus 
learn at once how the foreposts serve as a protection to 
themselves, and as spies on the movements of the enemy. 
And the officers take pains to point this clearly out to 
their men, and show them how to regulate their dispositions 
by those of the enemy. When these first principles are 
well ground into them, the company is led into the 

Great care is taken to train soldiers to execute their 
duties as sentinels and patrols with intelligence and 
observation. Every soldier has it impressed on him to 
distinguish rigorously between what he has seen and what 

oonrteoTLS and right, as it would oommend itself at once to any 
educated Englishman. 

VOL. I. B B 

370 Germany y Present and Past. 

he believes he has seen, between facts and conjectures — a 
lesson much harder to learn than many would suppose. 
Every report contains first statements of what has actually 
been observed, and then conclusions drawn from them. 
It is worthy of remark that in all reports, wheth^ in time 
of peace or of war, one uniform pattern of memoranda and 
envelopes is used. Each page bears all the necessary 
indications, printed by the Imperial Secret Press at 
Berlin, which issues these memoranda-books and enve- 
lopes to all the soldiers. On the envelope, beside the 
address and the hour of despatch and receipt, is marked 
the pace at which it is to be conveyed to its destination. 
X indicates that it may be carried at foot-pace ; XX, at a 
trot; and XXX, at a gallop. These marks give the 
measure of the importance of a despatch. The reports 
and addresses are always written in pencil. This uniform 
method of reporting has this advantage, that every soldier 
is perfectly familiar with it, and with the regulation for 
the transmission of orders and information ; moreover, 
all reports being of an uniform size, are more easily 
preserved in the journals of the march and the regimental 

After the instructions of the companies, battalion 
exercises follow, and then those of regiments, each fraction 
occupying all the space which, according to the conditions 
of the land, it would have to occupy in the event of actual 
war. During these manoeuvres, which sometimes last a 
long time, the officers are given independent missions of 
which they must render an account later. 

2. To familiarise the men with marches and the pre- 
cautions to be adopted on them, advantage is taken of the 
journey to the field of exercise. Often two companies^ 
or two battalions, take different routes toward the same 
spot, and feel one another on their way, or, on the 

The Army, 371 


contrary, watch and harass each other's march. Along 
the whole way they fire incessantly on one another, as a 
soldier discovers himself flying from one poplar to another, 
or a head appears above a hedge, or out of a ditch, along 
which a column is creeping under cover. 

3. To these two species of exercises is added instruc- 
tion on the manner of organising and guarding a bivouac. 
The men are taught the proper dispositions : the vedettes 
«nd other sentinels are placed ; the position of the kitchens 
is determined, and sometimes actually erected and used. 
The men learn to extemporise fireplaces with bricks or 
stones or clay, and to collect fuel for them, some arrange- 
ment having been come to beforehand with the owner of 
the land. The men not occupied, either seated or standing, 
are given full explanations of the why and wherefore of 
everything that is done, and why the spot is chosen. To 
exercise the officers and non-commissioned officers in 
choosing proper places for bivouacking, the troop is pre- 
ceded by a patrol conmianded by an officer charged with 
this duty. 

4. During the little manoeuvres the men are taught to 
surmount difficulties, to jump ditches, and, if too wide to 
be overleaped, to bridge them. In traversing a wood, call- 
words are given out to the several companies, and the 
men enter the wood and disappear, but are kept together 
by their cries. 

5. Small manoeuvres are made, such as the attack or 
defence of divers accidents of the country, either with or 
without an enemy represented. Sometimes part of a 
company is detailed to keep a group of houses or a hill 
against the advance. I have seen dummy soldiers vn, 
French uniforTa put previously about on a wooded slope 
in positions likely to be occupied by an enemy defending 

B B 2 

372 Germany y Present and Past. 

The captain, standing in the middle of his company^ 
points out to his men what has to be done. Such a height 
has to be stormed, or the enemy dislodged from such a 
village* He indicates the difficulties and the advantages 
of the ground; and shows them the objections which 
forbid his adopting one mode of attack, and the reasons 
which induce him to take another. He bids the men 
observe on what point during the attack their attention 
must be fixed, and how that success depends on such and 
such things being done. When companies are engaged 
in sham fight with one another, the commandants of the 
battalions give their captains small tactical problems 
which they are required to resolve. 

6. During all these exercises, the men are incessantly 
called on to observe and take advantage of the accidents 
of the ground in all possible circumstances, being told 
both hjov) to do so, and also why to do so. 

7. All through, the summer the men are taught 
swimming : a lesson in the Schwimmbad generally follows 
some instruction that has not been of an exhausting nature. 

8. The men are not exercised in the corps to manage 
cannon. But the commandants of battalions detach 
annually firom one to four lance-corporals into the artillery^ 
to learn there the management of caissons of infantry 
ammunition. Each battalion by this means obtains a 
number of men fEuniliar with this branch of the service. 

9. Instruction on spade work becomes annually more 
and more important. Since the Busso-Turkish war it has 
attracted redoubled attention. In order to have good 
instructors for the regiments, each details annually one 
officer and six non-conmiissioned officers to the sappers 
and miners, where they learn the work necessary for the 
infantry. This is acquired in about forty-eight days, 
according to this table. 

The Army. 7^T2> 


1. Prelimixuury exercises. The resolatioD of geometrical 

problems on the snrface of the soil. Tracing and 
measiuring lines 2 

2. The making of fascines, gabions, baskets, &c. . . 3 

3. The throwing up of lines of defence, creation of ob- 

stacles 12 

4. Gastramet^tion ........ 8 

5. Military bridges 14 

6. Destruction of railways and telegraphs .... 3 

7. Practical application of preceding instructions . . 6 


After the end of the grand manoeuvres in each regi- 
ment platoons of sappers are formed (Pionierziige). To 
constitute them eight soldiers are detached from a 
company, and one officer from a battalion. The imion of 
these twelve platoons forms the regimental detachment 
of pioneers, who are placed under the instruction of those 
previously detailed for the purpose of learning the work, 
as already described. The regimental detachment of 
pioneers, therefore, comprises, including instructors, four 
officers, six non-commissioned officers, and ninety-six 

The eflfective force of this detachment may seem 
small, but it must not be forgotten that, as the regiment 
renews itself every year for three years, the actual number 
is not 96, but 288 well-instructed soldiers, capable of 
teaching the others. Moreover, as one officer and six 
non-commissioned officers are detailed to learn sapping 
•every year, after a few years almost all the lieutenants, 
and many of the superior officers, have passed through the 
sapping school, and the regiment contains a very con- 
siderable number of non-commissioned officers perfectly 
fiamiliar with the use of the spade. 

With regard to target practice, I will note but one 
significant fact: — all officers, under the commandants of 
the battalion, are obliged to pass every year through the 

374 Germany, Present and Past. 

whole course of exercises with the gun at the target. 
This obligation extends also to the superior officers, the 
colonel included, and his practice is recorded on the book 
of the first company, precisely like that of a private. 

5. The. AutumTud Mancsuvrea, — ^Three months before 
these begin the general charged with the conduct of a 
division or a brigade is informed where they are to take 
place. The area allowed for them is about thirty square 
miles. He goes there, inspects it, and sketches the out- 
line of some dozen affairs which might come off there, 
the forcing of a defile, the passage of a river, the storming 
of a height, &c« Then he returns and arranges his 
sketches for carrying out on so many days. When the 
period of the manoeuvres has arrived, the troops are 
marched to the scene. It takes them, of course, several 
days. Then, on the eve of each sham fight, each com- 
mander-in-chief receives a written notice of what has to 
be done by him, and he is left entirely free in his move* 
ments till the end of the battle. Each of these affairs ia 
always over by two o'clock in the afternoon. The com- 
manders-in-chief for the morrow are then designated, and 
they betake themselves with their troops to their respective 
cantonments, and give the orders necessary for the morrow* 

But the important feature of the manoeuvres is the 
criticism passed on each as soon as it is executed. This 
is a lesson in applied tactics practically illustrated by 
what has just taken place. It embraces the twenty-four 
hours of command of each commander-in-chief, and takes 
place as follows. 

As soon as the action is judged to be terminated, the 
general has the < cease fire ' called on his bugle, and this is 
repeated over the field. At this signal, all the officers 
assemble about him, and the commanders in turn give 
their accounts If one is uncertain about a detail, as a 

TJte Army. 375 

brush of outposts, the destruction of a bridge, or the depth 
of a stream at a certain point, he calls on the officer of 
his camp who assisted at it to supply the requisite informa- 
tion. The head of the other camp then gives his account. 
After that the general siuns up, and passes his opinion on 
the general result with great moderation and forbearance. 
He is guided, not only by what he has seen himself, but 
by information supplied by the umpires. These are staff 
officers of various grades, distinguished by a white favour. 
Their united reports allow of all the particulars of the 
combat being collected in their chronological order. It 
is their office, during the contest, to stop the fire and 
the advance of troops when they judge that in actual 
warfare they would have been placed Ivors de comhat. 
Their decision is without appeal, and executed imme- 
diately. Their reports are communicated privately to the 
general, whilst the officers are on their way to hear his 
critique. Consequently, they become an instruction to 
him as well as to those engaged. Each commandant 
compares whait has really taken place with what he 
believed he saw, and this makes the manceuvre the more 
interesting, for each is sure of being able to complete or 
rectify his views at the end of the day, of ascertaining then 
what had escaped his eye or intelligence during the action. 
Without the criticism, the manoeuvres might be mischievous 
rather than useful, for those who saw wrong might remain 
undeceived and be confirmed in their errors. But the 
critique sets all to rights. The criticism of the foreposts 
and of the reconnaissances takes place after that of the en- 
gagement. After dinner, the general directing the 
manoeuvres mounts his horse and betakes himself with 
his staff to the outposts of the two camps which are to be 
engaged on the following day. 

6. The Orcmd Mcmceuvrea succeed those of the detach- 

376 Germany y Present and Past. 

ment. In them, at, least a whole army corps is engaged. 
They are the crown of all that has preceded of the 
military instruction of the year. Of these it is quite 
impossible here to give any particular accoimt. They are 
rehearsals of great battles. But one feature in them 
recurs frequently, which is evidently a favourite with 
Prussian tacticians, and which deserves mention. During 
the course of the combat, the dififerent groups of forces are 
occupied on their several tasks. The action appears to 
be one of a series of detached engagements. Then, 
suddenly, towards the close of the day, all form for a 
general attack, and are poured like an avalanche at the 
foe, with the purpose of crushing or enveloping him. 
The movement along a league of country is conducted 
with lightning-like rapidity. Troops out of sight of one 
another attack at almost the same minute. This is the 
fruit of frequent exercise. 

I am writing a chapter, and not a book, on the organi- 
sation of the German army, and therefore can only note 
such features as are peculiar to it, and that strike a for- 
eigner. Want of space obliges me to omit much that 
would be interesting to military men rather than to the 
general reader. For this reason I must also pass over the 
special training of the cavalry and of the artillery, that 
I may describe some other special features of the German 
system deserving of attention. 

Having spoken of the ordinary private, I will now 
say something of the volunteer, and the Oefreite^ who has 
been met with in the course of the preceding pages, 
and who has probably puzzled the reader. 

Every German subject, as soon as he is seventeen, is 
recognised as able for military service, and if he likes, 
may then enter as a volunteer. The heads of the corps 
are not, however, bound to accept every man who offers. 

The Army. 377 

and a volunteer has sometimes very great difficalty in 
obtaining admission. This is, perhaps, more the case with 
the volunteers for three years, who .enter at seventeen, 
than with the others, for an officer does not like to have a 
boy of that age in his company, when he is sure to get 
him later, if he wants. 

There are FreiwUligera (volunteers) of two sorts : — 

1. Those who volunteer for three years, in the cavalry 
for four years. 

2. Those who volunteer for one year {Einjahriger). 

1. VohiTUeera of Three Tears. — The number admitted 
into a company in the course of the year may not exceed 
ten, or forty in the battalion. This restriction applies, 
however, only to the infantry. In the cavalry, when they 
volunteer for four years, they are most readily received, 
and whole regiments are made up of them exclusively. 
Volunteers of three years are paid and equipped by the 
state. The only advantage they gain is that they get 
over their military service earlier than if they waited till 
called into the ranks, and they need not live in barrack. 

2. The Ei/njdhriger. — Every young man between seven- 
teen and twenty apt for military service, of irreproachable 
conduct, who has satisfied the Government that he has 
been highly educated, may enter the army as a volunteer 
of one year. 

The institution of volunteers for a year has for object 
the preparation of officers and sub-officers for the reserve, 
capable of being utilised in time of war. 

To become an Einjahriger, a young man must produce 
a certificate of having passed, in the first class at the 
Lyceum or Biirgerschule, an examination conducted by 
commissioners appointed by the Government. The ex- 
amination is extremely searching and hard ; consequently 
only youths of ability can pass it. Moreover, as these 

378 Germany, Present and Past. 

young men are destined to become officers of the reserve, 
the heads of the corps are very particular about admitting 
only those who they are satisfied vrtll do credit to it, and 
they pitilessly refuse those who do not satisfy them on 
their past respectability of conduct. That a certain 
amount of class favouritism, or prejudice against the 
appearance of a candidate, influences them, is asserted, and 
may be true. 

A Freiwilliger, once admitted, is obliged to serve a 
year either in the ranks or in a military establishment, 
according to whether he possesses a general or a special 
education, which may be utilised in the army. Conse- 
quently the Freiwilligers may serve either as ordinary 
soldiers, or as doctors, veterinary surgeons, or chemists. 

Each company can receive annually only four volun- 
teers, except in university towns, where the number of 
Einjahrigers is unlimited. 

The Einjahrigers receive no pay, purchase their uniform, 
board and lodge at their own cost, and are not counted among 
the effective force. Arms and equipment are furnished 
them by the regiment at a certain annual price, and they 
are bound to restore them to the depot, at the end of their 
term, in good condition. An uniform in the line costs 
58 mks. 62 pf., or nearly 3Z., and for the use of their 
arms they pay 3 mks. 23 pf., or 3d. 3(2. A chasseur, how- 
ever, pays for his regimentals 3Z. 18«. Od., and for his arms 
\l. In the cavalry a volunteer pays 152. for his horse, 68. 
for shoeing, and he keeps him in hay and com. 

In the train, the price of a horse is 72. 10^. 

The Einjahrigers do not live in barrack : they lodge in 
town ; but .have, of course, to attend drill and parade at the 
regular hours. They are distinguished from the ordinary 
privates by a button on the collar, and are usually drilled 
apart from the rest. 

The Army. 379 

Six months after entering the service, the Einjahrigers 
are inspected by the commandant of the regiment, not 
only in their drill, but also on their theoretical knowledge. 
If they pass the examination weU, they are promoted to be 
^ Gefreiten ; ' and from that day serve as lance-corporals. 
At the close of the year, the conmiandant of the regiment 
gives each volunteer a certificate indicating the extent of 
his military knowledge, and the functions he is calculated 
to fill in the reserve; that is, whether he is fit to be 
classed as an officer or as an under-officer. Those to whom 
this certificate is refused, are relegated to be privates in 
the reserve. Those who have obtained the certificate of 
officer in the reserve quit the regiment with the grade of 
under-officer ; but this certificate does not give them the 
right to be named inmiediately officers in the reserve : to 
obtain this, they must, in the year following their libera- 
tion, serve for two months again. During the first month 
that they are again under colours, they act as non-com- 
missioned officers ; then, if they are considered to merit it^ 
are advanced to be Vice-Feldwebel. When they have com- 
pleted their eight weeks, they are dismissed with a certi- 
ficate stating whether or not they deserve promotion. 
Furnished with this, the candidates go to the commandant 
of the district of the Landwehr battalion to which they 
belong, and he subjects their claim to the vote of the 
officers of the district. For this purpose there exists a 
permanent commission (Wahlcommiaaion) in every bat- 
talion district^ composed of the oldest captain and of two 
lieutenants, and the nomination of each new candidate is 
put to the vote. Against the decision of the majority there 
is no appeal. If the vote of the corps of officers is favourable, 
the candidate is proposed to the Government for the grade 
of officer of reserve. The object of the election is to 
enable the reserve and Landwehr to secure as their officers 

380 Germany^ Present and Past, 

only men whose conduct in their homes offers a guarantee 
that they will not discredit their epaulettes. When named 
to the Emperor, the new officer of the reserve receives a 
brevet, informing him whether he is attached to a regi-^ 
ment, or simply to his district of the Landwehr. That 
this system is productive of good effects, and is of very 
precious advantage to the army, is a matter of general re- 
oognition. Irrespective of the good results produced by 
the passage through the ranks of all these well-educated 
and highly instructed young men, the system of Ein- 
jahriger has afforded a simple and rational solution to one 
of the most difficult problems of mobilisation — ^the recruital 
of the officers. Nearly all the European armies suffer 
from want of reliable officers, even in time of peace. Where 
are the requisite number to be obtained, all at once, for the 
mobilisation of the active army, and to form the reserve, 
and Landwehr ? The part of an officer in modem warfare 
has become so important and so difficult, that, in order to 
perform it properly in time of war, it is indispensable that 1^ 
special education for it should have been acquired in time 
of peace. This question of capital importance long engaged 
the attention of the Prussian Grovemment, which has re- 
solved it in this really brilliant manner. 

Not only is the army provided by this means with a 
reserve of officers who can be employed for the formation 
of new corps, but each regiment possesses as it were a 
depot of officers, a well-replenished store belonging 
specially to it, and with all the personnel of which the 
regiment is fully acquainted. This is a consideration of 
extreme importance. The corps, in instructing their 
Einjahrigers, are working for themselves, and are those 
chiefly interested in using every effort to give these young 
men the best possible military education, for it will require 
their aid at the critical moment of mobilisation, and during 

The Army. 381 

war. These Einjahrigers, so &r from being regarded as 
a privileged set, evading the duties of three years' service, 
a burden to the corps for which there is not compensation^ 
are highly esteemed, and the labour devoted on them is 
not regarded as thrown away. Each regiment is always 
able, in the event of war, to call to its aid the cream 
of its pupils. Suppose, for instance, that in the course 
of a year fifty Einjahrigers have been admitted. At the 
end of a twelvemonth, maybe, twenty-five have received a 
certificate of candidate for the grade of officer of reserve.. 
Let us suppose that of these twenty-five, ten only — the 
ten best — ^are designated to be officers in their regiment : 
it follows that this regiment wiU send each year into ita 
reserve ten officers belonging to it, specially chosen from 
among fifty volunteers, and fifteen good officers into 
the general reserve of the army. At the end of ten years,, 
the regiment will have in its reserve about 80 officers, a 
superabundance, out of which to draw to supply the 
vacancies that may occur, either in its battalions engaged, or 
in the reserve and Landwehr. But even if a corps should 
happen not to have sufficient in its special reserve, it can 
easily supply itself from the general reserve, which is always 
abundantly filled. 

The French system is not quite the same. With re- 
publican love of equality, all of every class have the same 
measure dealt out to them. The beds of the tramp and 
nobleman adjoin in the dormitory ; they sit side by side at 
mess, and associate in one conunon room in hours of re- 
laxation, as they dwell together in the same company on the 
parade-ground. The French period of military service is 
five years instead of three. 

Now to a peasant and cotter's son, it is no hardship 
to live, work, and sleep in a crowd. He has been brought 
up not to know and care for the privacy of his own room. 

382 Germany^ Present and Past. 

It is not so with a member of the upper or middle class. 
To him privacy is as much a necessity as clean linen and 
a tooth-brushy not only because his habits are more refined 
than those of the lower classes, but also because he 
has, on the expiration of his term of service, to enter a 
profession, and during service he must keep up his studies 
qualifying him for it. To do this in the common room of 
a barrack is impossible. The consequence is that the French 
system imposes on its superior classes a very galling hard- 
ship. A French gentleman now undergoing his military 
course writes : * I would I were a German for one reason 1 — 
to be a volunteer, — and escape the degradation of daily, 
nightly, hourly association with men, some of whom are the 
scum of a society not imcorrupt. In this atmosphere, the 
mind loses its polish and its edge, and callousness invades 
the heart. The barracks are to the man of culture what 
U» gaZh'ea are to the lower orders.' * 

The French system has not been working long enough 
for its results to have declared themselves, but some fruits 
are already ripening, and two are becoming conspicuous ; 
the man of superior mental, moral, and social qualities leaves 

' A young Frenchman who wishes to avoid conscription may enlist 
as a one-year volonteer, after paying 602. to Ck)yemment and passing 
an examination with a view to showing that he has received a good 
school education ; should he be unable to do this, he must take his 
chance at the lottery. If he draws a bad number, he wiU have to serve 
five years ; if a good one, he gets off with six months, and is then 
drafted into tlie active reserve, which renders him amenable to be called 
out for twenty-eight days' training every two years until he is thirty. 
After this he is enroUed in the Territorial Army, which can only be 
called out in case of an invasion. As for the soldier who has served 
five years, he likewise passes into the active reserve for four years 
after his discharge, and during that time he may be ordered to rejoin 
his regiment in case of war. Thus the active reserve will in time com- 
prise men who have served six months or five years ; but as the new 
military law only took effect in 1873, the first supply of five-year men 
has not yet been drafted, and the bulk of the reserves is made up of 
men who served seven years under the old Imperial law. 

Tlie Army. 383 

the barrack at the end of his service deteriorated, and 
consequently there is growing up among the cultivated 
classes a disgust and abhorrence for the service in which 
they were condemned to either one or five years' penal 
servitude. The effect produced in Germany is in all 
respects the reverse. A Freiwilliger of three years can 
escape barrack life except for one month. The object of 
the German Government is not to break down a man's 
self-respect, but to encourage it. And I believe there is 
scarce a private or volunteer who does not pass into the 
reserve a better man mentally, morally, and physically 
than he entered the army, and as a natural result, men 
look back on their three years with pride and gratitude. 

It is impossible to deny that the rigorous method 
of instruction followed with the troops has much to do with 
the excellence of the results attained : it must not, however, 
be left out of sight that the officers are the soul of this 
instruction. Whatever may be the level of their general 
education, one may justly say that they are all, in their 
particular lines, specialists, and are full of the liveliest 
zeal for the service. 

No doubt there are exceptions. But the officer who 
neglects his duties is closely watched, and if the measures 
taken to reform him do not succeed, he is remorselessly 
sacrificed to the general interest, he is dismissed, be his 
rank what it may. For the good of the service is not in 
theory only, but in fact, the supreme law, in the eye of 
which general and lieutenant are equal, and the principle 
that no man must be allowed to occupy a post for which 
he is incompetent is superior to every consideration. 

But the vigilance of the superiors is not the only 
guarantee for efficiency. Equals mutually watch one 
another, for to all the service is a sacred cause ; the 
accomplishment of their duty is a question of honour and 

384 Germany, Present and Past. 

~ ■ — — - ■ ■ ■ ■ 1 

professional dignity. And this sentiment is so deeply 
ingrained, at least among the inmiense majority of German 
officers, that it overrides all personal considerations. 
They will not endure association with an incapable com- 
rade, and they force him to resign the service and adopt 
another profession. 

Thanks to these principles, conducted steadfastly for 
many years, the most brilliai^t results have been attained. 
The pitiless exclusion of all worthless elements on one 
side, and on the other the importance of the material 
advantages and honours accorded to the most deserving^ 
have given birth to and maintained the most ardent 
emulation in the corps of officers in the Grerman army. 
And this struggle for existence, this moral contest, \b met 
with in every arm. In the line as in all degrees of the 
hierarchy, the effects are made manifest by the extremely 
conscientious manner in which every one fulfils the 
details of his task, and by the mutual respect which is 
elicited between all those who discharge their obligations 
well. Anything like the listlessness which is so common 
among our officers is foreign to the German army ; for 
every officer knows that to keep his position, and much 
more to gain an advance, indefatigable and persistent 
work is indispensable, and not that only, but also one 
fertile in practical results. 

At first sight it might be supposed that this constant 
rivalry between the officers would destroy good-fellowship. 
But the reverse is the case. Nowhere is it found more 
strongly developed. It is not restrained within the 
narrow circle of the regiment, but extends to all corp» 
and to all branches of the service. It constitutes, in a 
word, a most powerful link binding together the members 
of the great military feonily. This e^pr^Jt de corps is not 
developed merely by the solidarity created by conmion 

The Army. 385 

interests. There are other causes, and in the first line 
may be reckoned the conditions of existence in which 
they are placed, such as — 1. The mode in which the 
officers are recruited. 2. The liberty allowed to each in 
his own sphere of action. 3. The regimental mess. On 
these points I shall not say much. To the second I have 
called attention already. With regard to the last, it is 
sufficiently known to need no particular description* The 
officers are recruited from the upper ranks of society, from 
among young men who desire to make the army thw 
profession. They must have served six months at least in^ 
a corps, and have passed a very trying examination. 
Moreover, a candidate for cadetship must obtain the con- 
sent of the head of the corps, which is npt granted with- 
out a very searching examination into his moral, social, 
and mental qualifications. From the very first day of his 
admission, the cadet takes his place at the table of the 
officers, and has access to all their gatherings and military 
conferences. He is at once made to feel that he is a member 
of the corps of officers, so that he may accustom himself 
to their mode of life, and to the usages they observe in 
their mutual relations. They are of course subjected to 
very special and careful training in the A B G of mili- 
tary sciences, the bases for private study. 'But they are 
made clearly to understand that there is no advance 
possible for them unless they apply themselves diligently 
to their profession, and complete for themselves the very 
solid, but elementary instruction that has been given 
them. There are several military colleges for their training : 
Potsdam, Metz, Anclam, Neisse, Engen, Erfurt, Hanover, 
Cassel, and Munich. The course in these colleges is 
from eight to ten months. When it is complete, the 
officers detailed to give instruction to the cadets return 
to their regiments to take part in the grand manoeuvres. 


386 Germany, Present and Past. 

The cadet returns also to his regiment, and remains 
there till an election for a vacancy among the ensigns, 
which is made by the officers of the corps after a 
second scrutiny into the life and character of the candi- 

The principle of free election of officers by their peers 
proves a most cogent motive to good conduct and per- 
sonal effort. It is to this that the G-erman army owes 
the recognition accorded to it in all classes. An officer 
has access to every circle. It is by its coi stant applica- 
tion that the ties of brotherhood are formea which unite 
the officers of a regiment, and even those of the whole 
army. It is by means of this that the corps of officers 
has become the animating soul that communicates move- 
ment and life to the whole army. 

It must not be lost sight of, that the Grerman soldier, 
being better educated than the English soldier, is more diffi- 
cult to manage. He joins the army with formed opinions, 
and often with all sorts of pretensions. He reads the 
papers, has his political colour, and, what is more serious, 
knows enough to criticise and appreciate the acts of his 
officers. This is not, of course, the case with the mass of 
the soldiers, drawn from the country and from following 
the plough. But there are men, also from the towns, some 
who have been reared in an atmosphere of Social De- 
mocracy, and such men, voluble and intelligent, are likely 
to exercise a dangerous influence on their simpler comrades. 
But though, from this point of view, the command of the 
men becomes difficult, it has its advantages. 

In the corps there are men of superior class, and they 
exercise some influence, no doubt, in refining the others, 

> Ab mib-lieiiteDant, he receives 1,200 mks. per annum « 602., but he 
is not elected to be an officer unless he can show that he has a private 
income equal to his pay. 

The Army, 387 

—. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ^ 

though not much. But the happiest result is that all 
the officers are forced to keep themselves up to the level 
of their part and position. Each understands that he 
cannot teach others if he does not take the lead in know- 
ledge, in personal qualities, and in comrage. He is ever 
conscious that he must let the soldiers recognise a real 
superior in the m^n who commands them. 

Lieutenants undergo a very searching examination into 
their qualifications, which lasts fourteen days. Such as 
have given ,the examiners reason to believe that they are 
men of extjraordinary ability are taken into the * Kriegs- 
Akademiei' but this contains only from 180 to 200 students. 
Here they study for two years. In the third year they 
declare themselves specialists in some particular branch 
of military science, or subject of military interest. They 
are thep furnished with money by the War Office to travel 
for a twelvemonth, and perfect their speciality by study 
abroad ; and they return reports to the War Office of their 
observations. On coming home they are appointed to the 
general staff, which thus forms an intelligence department 
as perfect (is could be desired. 

When one considers the marvellous perfection, in all 
its parts, of the German army, it is natural to compare it 
with the standard of our English service ; and I think it 
is impossible for any one who knows anything about the 
two services to doubt that ours lags at least half a century 
behind that of Grermany. Our organisation is not as 
thorough, our development of the intelligence of the 
several units is not as complete — indeed, we hardly at- 
tempt this, and we have not as yet inspired our officers in 
every grade with the consciousness that warfeire is now a 
science demanding close attention and study. Nor have 
we the reserve force of other European nations. On a 
memorable occasion Lord Beaconsfield threw the taunt in 

c c 2 

388 Germany, Present and Past. 

the teeth of Bussia, that England could stand two, or even 
three campaigns, without her treasury being exhausted. 
That is no doubt true, but what is of quite as much im- 
portance in war as money is soldiers. In the Crimean 
war we were reduced to send out boys — we had no more 
trained men. Modem wars demand vast armies. Sup- 
pose England should on some occasion make up her mind 
to hit one of her own size, instead of bullying little 
savages, and should try conclusions with burlier and more 
civilised antagonists than Abyssinians, Ashantees, Afghans, 
and Zulus, — what would be the result ? One campaign 
would consume oiur available force. Suppose we beat our 
opponent in it, he could send up a colunm of reserves and 
form a fresh line, as solid as the first, and we should fill our 
gaps with old reservists and raw recruits. Suppose we beat 
him in a second campaign, he would mobilise the Land- 
wehr, and bring against us a third disciplined army of 
approved, well instructed, thoroughly trained men, and 
what should we have then to meet it? A Continental 
Power can now launch army after army against its enemy, 
and its military power is only exhausted with the man- 
hood of the nation. 

I fear we rely too much on our money, and not enough 
on technical education. A himdred years ago James 
Douglas, in his amusing ^ Travelling Anecdotes in 
Europe,' gave a conversation which took place at Aix-U- 
Chapelle between an English colonel and a Prussian 
major, which curiously shows that the relative positions 
of the services and conceptions of military strength were 
the same then as now : — 

< ^ My countrymen," said the colonel, as he raised the 
glass to his lips, ^^ have made no despicable figure on the 
Continent. Our great Duke of Marlborough drove the 
French to the very gates of their capital by force of arms." 

The Army. 389 


By force of money, sir," answered the major. " But you 
allow him to have been a great general ? " " Very true ; 
and if riches constitute great generals, your country should 
have the first in all Europe ; but what necessity is there 
for your having enlightened generals, when you have 
money enough to purchase your victories ? I am sorry to 
say, sir, that your commanders have shown, even in my 
memory, that they are entirely ignorant of the word 
c(mJbinaJti(m in an army. When your generals conquer, 
they conquer alone by the bravery of their men." ** What 
the devil else should they conquer by?" replied the colonel, 
something elated. '^ By skill, sir ; by the study of that 
terrific name, the grta^ scale of war : we laugh at the 
word bravery. When our generals beat an enemy, they 
do not conquer by chance, or by the bravery of their troops, 
but by the mechanical power of their art. 'Tis true, your 
men stand in the point-blank direction of a cannon-ball 
by a constitutional firmness. We do not trouble our heads 
with stamina — we compel them to stand firm by discipline." 
** Then, I presume, the greatest coward in your army is as 
good a soldier as the bravest ? " " We have no cowards ; 
we all fight — every man of us." ' * 

The science of war is now cultivated to such a pitch, 
the field telegraph, like the nervous system of a human 
body, ties the whole army together into such a sentient 
whole, that victory is entirely the result of skilful combi- 
nation. Mere brute courage counts for nought. No 
doubt our jimior officers are as daring and brave as smy 
men in the world, but when they know more of the rules 
of polo, and of the figures of a dance, than of evolutions 
in the face of an enemy, their courage will profit them 
nothing. Battles are now decided without the combatants 

1 Douglas : TravelUnff Aneodatei through Varunu Parts of Ewropt„ 
3rd edition. London, 1786» p. 269 «0y^. 

390 Germany^ Present and Past. 

coming to blows, when they can only discern one another 
through a telescope ; courage is therefore passive, not 
active ; it is merely (logged resolution to stand uncovered 
in a rain of bullets, knowing no more whence they come 
than if they poured out of the heavens. 

One serious deficiency with us is capable of being 
remedied without making any radical change in our 
system. The Grerman army has seventeen depots of men 
and munitions of war, each depot supplies a corresponding 
army division. We have but one store of arms — Wool- 
wich, almost entii'ely unprotected. Let us suppose that 
a hostile army effected a landing on our South or East 
coast. If that enemy were Germany, our defence would 
collapse like a pricked bladder. The invading force 
would at once secure Woolwich, which is undefended 
by forts, and with the loss of it the heart of our resis- 
tance would be taken out of it. We need at least one 
central depot —say at Weedon — protected by a number 
of detached forts, which would harass and detain an in- 
vader. Again, our reserve system is altogether inadequate 
to our needs. The German reserves are called out efoery 
year, and consist of the cream of the army, of men who 
have served three years in the standing army. Every year 
for eight weeks the reserve is under drill, to ensure its 
efficiency, and to ensure its mobilisation on a moment's 

It is impracticable for us to adopt universal military 
conscription. It is a misfortune for an European nation 
to be obliged to have resort to this; but it is, under 
present circumstances, inevitable. We have a blue moat 
that surrounds us, and that saves us from having recourse 
to universal conscription for weighting our arm. It la 
not necessary for us to discuss the expedient, so long as 
we have the intention to remain at peace with the nations 

The Army. 391 

on the Continent, and snap our fingers only in the faces of 
barbarians. Nor is it necessary to discuss it so long as we 
intend maintaining a purely defensive attitude, in the event 
of an European war in which we may be involved. In the 
field, whether abroad or at home, we could do nothing ; we 
should be overwhelmed by numbers or bewildered by skill, 
and be like the bandaged boy in blind-man's buff, struck 
here, there, and everywhere, without knowing who was the 
assailant, and where to charge. 

There is one eminently weak point in our system 
which is remediable. Our officers, from the lowest to the 
highest, should be required to cultivate their profession, 
study for it, and live for it. They are now, with rare 
exceptions, listless, hunting after pleasure, caring nothing 
for the art of their profession. We have, I do not doubt 
it, first-rate tacticians among our superior officers, but 
lower down there is not any professional enthusiasm. 
Before the Fire of London, Paul's Walk — the nave of 
St. Paul's — was a lounge for idle people, not a place for 
public devotion. Oiu army is too much of a Paul's 
Walk — a professional lounge for young men of family 
and small brains, not a place for hard work and intellectual 

Fielding caustically remarks that in his day ^ Nature 
hath made in some persons the skull three times as thick 
as in thode of ordinary mea, who are desigued to exercise 
talents which are vulgarly called rational, and for whom, 
as brains are necessary, she is obUged to leave some room 
for them in the cavity ; whereas, those ingredients being 
entirely useless to persons of the heroic calling, she hath 
an opportunity of thickening the bone, so as to make it 
less subject to any impression, or liable to be cracked or 
broken ; and, indeed, in some, who are predestined to the 
command of armies, she is supposed sometimes to make 

392 Germany f Present and Past 

that part perfectly solid.' * We have advanced far since 
Fielding's day, and we have competitive examinations 
before candidates can be admitted to Woolwich. But that 
is not enough. Still the prejudice remains among parents 
that any boy, if he be not clever, is suitable for an officer, 
as that any boy, who is deficient in manliness, is cut out 
by nature to be a parson # The cream of intelligence is 
given to commerce* The sharp, clever boy goes into 
business, the dunce or dawdle into the army, and the 
milk-sop into the Church. Competitive examination sifts 
out the worst of the candidates. But all pass into the 
army out of Woolwich, as they will pass out of life into 
Paradise, exclaiming, 'Glory be to God, now we have 
nothing more to do but to kick our heelt<.' 

Pluck, as the Prussian major at Aix truly said, a 
hundred years ago, is not an element to be considered in 
modem warfare. Of course our soldiers go into battle 
with it just as they go into battle wearing a pairof trowsers — 
(ja va 8Q/n8 dire. But one is as much conducive to victory 
as the other. Professional skill is the essential element 
of success in modem warfare. The great advantage of 
this is dexterity in the handling of masses. The head 
may conceive a project, but unless hand and foot execute 
it instantaneously, the, chance of its success is lost. This 
dexterity is the result of constant practice. It is precisely 
the same with an army as with the human body : rapidity 
of movement, dexterity, is the result of laborious practice* 
An acrobat can execute the most astonishing evolutions 
with his body, and put it into the most imusual attitudes \ 
a prestidigitator can work magic with his nimble fingers. 
A German army is trained like an acrobat and a presti- 
digitator. Finger and foot are obedient to instant com- 
mand of the brain, and perform their task with such 

> Joieph AndrcfPi, bk. ii. ch. 9. 

The Army, 393 

rapidity that the thing ia done, and the meana are unper- 
ceived. This must be acquired by hard and incessant 
practice, and till this is acquired by our army we shall be 
unable to cope with a military power trained on the 
modem principle. In the German army the important 
part played by the cfriJtiqyut has been pointed out. It 
quickens the intelligence of every member of the body. 
It does more, it creates interest in the science. This is a 
feature not sufficiently carried out in the English service. 
Instruction on the why and wherefore of every evolution, 
manceuvre, and detail of the service is not given aiMl 
made general. If this were adopted, interest in the pro- 
fession might be expected to awake. 

The German army, there can be no question, is a 
crushing charge on the country. The field army for 1878, 
exclusive of Landwehr and Landsturm formations, but 
inclusive of trains and administration, consisted of 17,310 
officers, and 687,594 men, 1,800 guns, and 233,592 horses ; 
the reserve of 4,426 officers, 243,095 men, 426 guns, and 
30,590 horses. The garrisoning army, inclusive of Land- 
wehr, consisted of 10,107 officers, 353,102 men, 324 guns, 
and 37,414 horses. The whole available force on a war 
footing is consequently 31,843 officers, 1,203,791 men, 
301,536 horses, and 425 field batteries, with 2,550 guns. 
Should war be declared the German army would be divided 
into 120 to 150 Landwehr battalions, 144 Landwehr squad- 
rons, and 54 field batteries, so that there would be ready 
for active use at once 900,000 men and 2,024 field-pieces. 
This force may be further increased by 148 fourth field 
and 148 to 293 Landsturm battalions. 

The army costs the country, 1878-79, as much as 
328,000,000 marks, or 16,4O0,0O0Z.* The total demand 
of the War Department for army and navy for 1878-79 ia 

I The English army for the same period, 16,596|8001L 

394 Germany^ Present and Past. 

479,000,000 marks, 23,960,000L We pay 26,450,700^. 
for a £ELr superior navy and a vastly inferior army ; but 
it must be remembered that Germany is not only paying 
this enormous sum in taxes, direct and indirect ; it is also 
sacrificing three years of the life of nearly all its young 
men, and two months a year for four years more of the 
time of those who pass into the reserve, all which time 
might have been occupied in earning money. But not 
only are the earnings of some seven hundred thousand men 
annually lost, but neither men nor junior officers can live 
on their pay. They must draw upon their parents' savings 
for three years. A soldier's pay is 30 Pfennige per diem ; 
in addition, he gets a sum which varies according to the 
prices of the markets of the garrison in which he may 
be quartered. On an average it may be stated as 15 
Pfennige, making a total of 45 Pfennige. From this total 
a deduction is made of 30 Pfennige, to pay for his rations 
at break&st and dinner. The soldier receives also a daily 
ration of commissariat bread. The dinner consists of soup, 
some meat and vegetables, no beer. For breakfast, soup 
and bread. For supper he must pay extra. It is quite 
impossible for growing young men to live on the rations 
and the 15 Pfennige or l|c2. a day, which falls to them. 
Those who are very poor hang about the kitchens of the 
hotels and restaurants for broken meat, some do a little 
work in their spare time to earn a few coppers. But 
generally they are supplied with money by their relations. 

What a terrible charge the army is to the country 
may be judged by the facts just stated. The questions 
that arise are : Is it necessary ? and. Is the army worth 

That it is necessary few Germans will dispute. France 
has adopted imiversal military conscription, and is work- 
ing with might and main, and with marked success, to re- 

The Army. 395 

organise its army ; the rapid strides it is making force 
Grermany not to relax her efforts. If France is awake. 
Fatherland must not go to sleep. That France desires 
to wipe away the humiliation of 1870-71 no German 
doubts, and he knows that it is only because Germany 
does not relax her efforts that France is not already at her 
throat. I have heard many and general regrets expressed 
over the war of 1870-71, and acknowledgments that the 
greatness of the success has proved a misfortune in the end — 
regrets also that the boundary was not drawn at the Vogesen 
instead of the heights above Metz ; but I have not heard 
one man express a doubt that the armed attention of 
Germany is necessary now, and will be for years to come. 
That it is disastrous to commerce, a burden on the coun- 
try, they admit, but they know well also that it is un- 

And if the answer * yes ' must be given to the first ques- 
tion, whether this universal armament be necessary, so 
must a * yes ' be given to the second. ITie army is well 
worth what it costs the coimtry. It is the great school 
not only of polishing the manners, and quickening the 
intelligence of the nation, but it is teaching something 
more — patriotism, and saturating the consciousnesses of all 
the youth of the country with the necessity there exists 
for Germany to be Ont. It is fusing Hessian, and Prussian, 
and Badenser, and Wiirtemberger, Hanoverian, and Saxon, 
and Bavarian into one German people. It is undoing 
that particularism which was the bane of the past. The 
lesson may be an expensive one to learn, but it is a lesson 
that must be learned at any cost. 


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